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PART II.— Continued. 


Withdrawal of Father La Combe from the way of illuminatioa into 
that of blind faith — Instances of God's providence in her affairs — 
Further persecution — Ketreat, where she learns the nature of 
spiritual maternity — During this retreat strongly moved to write 
— Manner of writing — Has to suffer for La Combe's purification, 
whenever he resists God's operation — Thereby more powerful 
possession of her soul taken by God— Obliged to tell Father La 
Combe all her thoughts — Can pardon no defects in him 


Enters upon a state of childhood to express Jesus Christ the Child — 
Dependence upon Father La Combe— State of the maid brought by 
her sister— To command and to obey through the Word — This 
maid attacked by demons — Miracles by the Word Himself — Tempta- 
tion of a nun, and scornful treatment she met from a sister nun 
— Extreme illness covering the mystery of the Childhood . . 10 


Troubles from her sister and others unable to understand her state — 
Foresees persecution — The Child Jesus unites her to Father La 
Combe — Childlike interiorly and exteriorly — Illness of La Combe, 
and miraculous recovery for the Lent sermon — Communication in 
silence — The language of angels — Communication of the Trinity — 
Hierarchical order in heaven, and on earth — Spiritual fecundity 
— Communication of Jesus Christ to the disciples .... 20 




Foreshown her state of rejection and isolation, similar to that of Jesus 
Christ —The woman of the Apocalypse — When recovering from this 
protracted illness, one morning struck by Satan — Eflfects — Death, 
just victorious, driven back at Father La Combe's command — 
Foundation of hospital — Bishop of Verceil appoints Father La 
Combe to be his theologian — Visits Lausanne ... .30 


Leaves the convent, and takes up her abode iu a small cottage — 
Marquise de Prunai procures Isttre de cachet ordering La Combe 
to bring her to Turin — Remains there with Marquise — Her de- 
pendence on Father La Combe — Bishop of Verceil invites her to 
his diocese — Father La Combe distrustful of her grace — The widow 
penitent accepted by him as a saint — Madame Guyon's letter he 
interprets ill, and compels her to confess to pride— Terrible eflfect 
on her— He is enlightened 38 


Purification of her maid effected, with much suffering for Madame 
Guyon — Nature of this shown in mysterious dream beforehand — 
The maid becomes strangely awkward and incapable — Bishop 
of Geneva's double-dealing — A mysterious dream, foreshowing 
how she is called to help her neighbour — Interior state firm, 
immovable, admits of no description — Utterly lost in God . . 49 


Conversion of a hostile monk — His subsequent history — Another monk, 
bitterly opposed to Father La Combe, and extremely violent, given 
to her — The beautiful birds of the mysterious dream — Suddenly 
told by Father La Combe to return to Paris — In obedience to his 
Provincial he accompanies her over the mountains to Grenoble, — 
where she finds herself invested with the Apostolic state — Dis- 
cernment of spirits — Foreshown persecution — The necessary 
attendant on this state 56 


Borne souls were given merely as plants for her to cultivate, others as 
spiritual children— Her suffering for these— The maternity of 
JfBUB Christ— A certain order of monks most hostile to the way 
of prayer— Persecutions by these— A begging friar of this order 
visits Madame Guyon in her illness, and becomes a true spiritnal 



child — Her relations to such children — Nourished through her 
from the plenitude with which Jesus Christ fills her to overflowing . 65 


Account of a girl particularly so given to her, and Satan's temptation — 
Unfaithfulness of this girl — Rejection of the sinner by God, its 
nature ; continues only so long as the will of the sinner is in 
rebellion — Two things in us need purification : the cause of 
sin, and the effects — The cause of that girl's rejection from Madame 
Guyon's spirit — Before lier arrival at Grenoble her friend shown in 
dream how she should have many children from our Lord . 73 


The begging friar advances in grace — And with many others receives 
from her plenitude in silence — Brings to her his Superior and 
others — Among them the Senior Novice — Many others of all 
classes are given her as children — Is sent for by the Superior of 
a neighbouring convent, and helps a nun in great distress . . 82 


Her mode of writing on Holy Scripture — God's training — Victims of 
God's Justice, and souls of Mercy — Commencements of antagonism 
to her — Extraordinary rapidity with which she wrote — A soul 
from Purgatory cures her arm, which was swollen and inflamed 
from writing — The " Short Method of Prayer " is printed by a coun- 
sellor of the parliament — Fiftetn hundred copies taken by the 
monks of the order previously hostile — The begging friar suffers 
from inflamed feet, but is cured instantly at Madame Guyon's 
won! — Devil threatens persecution 90 


A girl sees in vision the coming persecution — Friends advise depar- 
ture to Marseilles — Her state of plenitude while at Grenoble 
— Her relation to David — Communication of the Word through her 
by speech, and in silence— Communication of Jesus Christ to St. 
John at the Last Supper — Suffering caused by Father La Combe's 
variations ; which our Lord made her see would cease when he 
was established in a permanent state of union with God — Perfect 
union imperceptible when consummated in unity — Her complete 
self-annihilation 98 




Journey from Grenoble to Marseilles— Dangers on the river Rhone — 
Opposition immediately on arrival at Marseilles — But the Bishop 
receives her kindly — Case of Ecclesiastic who followed her home 
from the Mass— At Grenoble libels circulated against her — Unable 
to remain at Marseilles, sets out by Nice to join Marquise de 
Prunai — Sails from Nice for Savona ; but is delayed by bad 
weather and landed at Genoa— Thence by land — 111 used by her 
muleteer — Meets robbers in a wood — Strange reception at 
Alexandria, by the innkeeper 107 


Arrives at Verceil unexpected, and much to Father La Combe's disgust 
—The Bishop receives her with respect, and great kindness — 
Desires to retain her in his (Hocese— Father La Mothe'a intrigue 
to bring La Combe to Paris : but Bishop will not part with him — 
Continued illness of Madame Guyon while at Verceil — Is com- 
pelled to leave, the doctors declaring the climate fatal to her . . 120 


Departure from Verceil, honourably escorted to Turin — Visits Marquise 
de Priuiai — Hospital previously founded at Grenoble — Great 
crosses foreshown to be awaiting her at Paris — At Chambery 
Father La Mothe meets them, and behaves with dissimulation — 
She reaches Grenoble, where her health is restored, and the simple 
girl, illtreated by the Devil, foretells crosses. .... 129 



Arrival at Paris — Father La Mothe stirs up persecution through 
motivc^s of solf-intcrcst — Union in unity with Jesus Clirist and 
Father La Combe — State of childhood passes into state of bearing 
Christ crucified — Discernment of truth — False saint and her 
husband, a skilful forger employed by Father La Mothe — Dcitails 
of their forgeries and ealunmies — True character of this woman . 135 



Father La Combe enlightened — Calumny against Madame Guyon — 
Reported complaints against Father La Combe made to the 
Archbishop, with a view to cause him to leave Paris — On failing 
in which La Mothe tries intimidation of Madame Guyon — His 
perfidious conduct, defeated by the loyalty of her children's 
guardian, who visits the Archbishop and unmasks the falsity of 
Father La Mothe 147 


Treachery by which Father La Combe is made to appear disobedient 
to the King's order, and consequently arrested — His certificate of 
approbation from the Sacred Congregation at Rome suppressed — 
Endeavours of Father La Mothe to make Madame Guyon fly 
— Calumnies originated by Father La Mothe — Previous history of 
his tool, the false saint — Failing in these machinations, the con- 
spirators persuade the King she is heretic and published a 
dangerous book — On which a lettre de cachet for her confinement in 
a convent was obtained ......... 155 


The execution delayed by her illness — Trick by which Father La 
Mothe carries oflF her copy of Father La Combe's Roman vindica- 
tion — Accusations set going against her — Service of the lettre 
de cachet .......... . 166 


Confinement in the Convent of the Visitation — Disowned by her con- 
fessor and ill used by her jailer — Unfaithfulness in trying to watch 
herself and be on her guard — Interrogations by the Ofiicial and a 
Doctor of the Sorbonne — A forged letter brought forward against her 
— Sees that the intention is simply to make her appear guilty — 
All her writings on Scripture demanded from her . . . 171 


Her contentment and joy — On St. Joseph's day elevated to the state of 
heaven — From which she knew increased suffering was at hand — 
Jesus Christ's state between his transfiguration and death — Her 
heavenly state lasts until the Annunciation, when she is made to 
drink to the dregs the indignation of God — But at Easter her 
tranquil state returns with a more perfect self-annihilation — Her 



attitude towards her persecutors — A marriage of her daughter 
proposed as a condition for her release — Father La Mothe's fresh 
machinations .182 


All the intrigues of her persecutors mysteriously shown to her— Father 
La Mothe invents new calumnies — She is more closely imprisoned 
despite the testimony of the Prioress — Increased severity towards 
Father La Combe, whose jailers were impressed by his piety — 
Madame de Maintenon induced to speak for her — Severe illness 
— Martyrs of the Holy Spirit— Tlie reign of Christ through his 
Spirit 191 


Endeavours to force a retractation from her — Further perfidy of Father 
La Mothe and the Archbishop — Communication in God with 
Father La Combe, although in such distant prisons — Her firm 
conviction as to God's design regarding her writings — Discernment 
of spirits — Detailed account of the means used by God for her 
release through Madame de Maintenon 200 


To screen themselves her persecutors insist on her signing certain 
ambiguously worded papers, wliich she refuses — Pressure put upon 
the nuns of that convent, who manifested esteem and afi'ection for 
her- By Madame de Maintenon 's advice she signs certain papers 
— Her release exactly when her persecutors had arranged for her 
transfer to a distant prison — Her indifference to freedom — Visits 
Madame de Maintenon, and takes up her residence with Madame 
de Miramion — First meeting with Abbe' de F [Fenelon] . 209 


Inability to write further as to her interior state — The happiness of the 
Blessed in heaven, which for some years she had enjoyed after the 
annihilation of the self-centre, she consented to give up on being 
called to tiie Apostolic state, wherein it is necessary to suffer for 
others and support their weakness — Her call to the propagation of 
the Holy Spirit — Nature of her suflerings in that state; which 
were twofold, viz. (1) caused by unfaithfulness in the souls united to 
her; (2) a means of their purification and advancement— Apostolic 
souls are a paradox to others— Satan's dread of such souls — 
The Ijord's saint.s, sanctified by a perfect suppleness to His will ; 
movt-d onlv bv divine rliarifv 220 




Her residence with Madame de Miramion opposed by tier persecutors— 
And false accusations made by Father La Mothe— Her protracted 
illness— Marriage of her daughter, with whom she takes up 
residence for two and a half years— Then arranges for an absolute 
retirement in a Benedictine convent— Which is frustrated through 
the indiscretion of the Prioress and her Bishop— She recognizes 
therein God's design to call her to fresh trials — Relations with 
Fene'lon— Visits to St. Cyr — Visits to M. Nicole at request of a 
common acquaintance ; by whom she is induced to meet M. Boileau 
for discussion on the " Short Method of Prayer " — Illness and visit 
to the waters of Bourbon 232 


Retires into the strictest seclusion — Which, however, does not secure her 
against intrigue and calumny — M. Fouquet's valet and the girl 
who gave herself to the Devil to win his love— M. Fouquet brings 
this girl to Madame Guyon ; subsequent history — M. Boileau, 
influenced by a pretended saint, becomes hostile to Madame Guyon 
— A general outcry against her is raised by his partisans and other 
ecclesiastics — Bishop of Chartres influences Madame de Maintenon 
to abandon her 242 


Her acquaintance with the Bishop of Meaux [Bossuet] — He expressed 
approval of some of her writings as well as of the history of her 
life, which had been placed in his hands — The dying nun at the 
Abbey of Clairets — All her writings placed in the Bishop's hands 
for examination — Conference in 1694, when he showed a marked 
change — His violence of manner — His objections and her answer . 252 


Madame Guyon's habit of speaking without reflection in simplicity 
— The Bishop calls upon her to justify her writings, which she 
has no desire to do — The woman of the Apocalypse — Outflow of 
grace from her — Bishop of Meaux's difiiculties arose from his 
unacquaintance with mystical writers — The Apostolic state— Cir- 
cumstances under which she wrote her life — Her authority over 
souls — Distinct acts and specific requests — Spiritual incapacities 
as well as bodily 262 




Bishop of Meaux oflfera to give her a certificate of orthodoxy, which 
she declines — Letter to Madame de Maintenon asking for an 
inquiry into her morals — Madame de Maintenon refuses, declaring 
herself satisfied on this head, but suggests that her doctrines must 
be examined — Particulars of M. Fouquet's death — Resigning her- 
self to God's will, she bids a final farewell to her friends, secluding 
herself henceforth from all society 272 


Perceives that others are aimed at in the attack made on her — Had 

previously warned the Abbe' de F Madame de Maintenon 

determines on causing an examination of Madame Guyon's writings 
— But the Archbishop of Paris anticipates this examination, and 
censures her books — Bishops of Meaux and Chalons and M. Tron- 
son appointed to make the examination — She writes a letter to 
them, and prepares her Justifications, being extracts from approved 
mystical writers : which the Bishop of Meaux neither reads him- 
self nor allows the others to see . 281 


Hostile attitude of the Bishop of Meaux — His objections : the sacrifice 
of eternity, trials, etc. — He confirms himself in his attitude — An 
insurmountable obstacle to the light of truth — Explanation on sub- 
ject of specific requests — Bishop of Meaux excludes the Duke of 
C , her friend, from the Conference, and behaves in an over- 
bearing manner — The two others in private express their approval 
of her 292 


Retires lo a convent at Meaux — Her journey made with great danger 
through heavy snow ; which at first met with approval from the 
Bishop, but subsequently was treated as artifice and hypocrisy — 
Calumnies and forged letters produced and circulated against her 
— Father de Richebrac's letter to her — Cardinal Camus's letter — 
Other devices employed to discredit her — TLe Incarnate Word — 
Testimony of the nuns and their Superior — Also of the Bishop of 
Meaux 306 


Procedure of the Bishop in forcing lur to sign certain papers drawn up 
by liim — After six montlis in Unit conviiit (he Bibliop gives her a 



certificate — Departure from the conveut — Subsequently, owing to 
the dissatisfaction of Madame de Maintenon, Bishop desires to 
withdraw that certificate, and to substitute one diflfering in purport 316 


Her reasons for preserving silence as to the suff'erings and persecutions 
experienced during ten years' imprisonment — Her interior state 
during that period 325 


After release from prison overwhelmed by illness and bodily infirmity 
— Her interior state — Farewell address to her children in grace — 
The ALL of God, the NOTHING of the creature . . . .331 



PART IL— Continued. 


After Father La Combe had returned from Eome much 
praised for his doctrine, he performed the duties of preach- 
ing and confessing as usual, and as I had for myself a 
permission from the Bishop of Geneva to confess to him, 
I made use of him. He at once told me I should return, 
as I have said. I asked him the reason. It is, he said, 
because I believe God will do nothing by you here, and my 
lights are deceptive. What made him speak thus was 
that while at Loretto, at devotion in the chapel of the Holy 
Virgin, he was suddenly withdrawn from the way of 
illumination and put into the way of simple faith. Now, 
as this state causes a failure of all distinct light, the soul 
which finds herself plunged in it finds herself in a trouble 
so much the greater as her state had been more full of 
lights. It is this which makes her think all the lights on 
which she previously supported herself to be nothing but 
deceptions. This is true in one sense, and not in another, 
since the lights are always good and true lights when 
they come from God ; but it is that in resting on them wo 



understand them or interpret them ill : and it is in this 
lies the deception, for they have a signification known to 
God, hut we give them a different sense ; then the self-love, 
disgusted that things do not happen according to its lights, 
accuses them of falsity. They are, nevertheless, very true 
in their sense. For example, a nun had told Father La 
Comhe that God had caused her to know that the Father 
would one day be confessor of his Sovereign. In one sense 
this might be taken to mean that he would be confessor or 
director of the Princess, and it was in this sense it was 
understood ; but I was given to know that it meant the 
persecution, where he has had occasion to confess his faith, 
and to suffer for the will of God, which is his Sovereign. 
And thus with a thousand other things. Have I not also 
been daughter of the Cross of Geneva — which had been 
predicted to me — since the journey to Geneva has drawn 
upon me so many crosses ? and mother of a great people, 
as will be seen in the sequel, by the souls which God has 
given me, and which he still gives me every day in the 
midst of my captivity ? 

I gave an account to Father La Combe of what I had 
done and suffered in his absence, and I told him the care 
that you, my God, took of my affairs. I saw your 
providence even in the smallest matters, unceasingly 
spread itself over me. After having been many months 
without any news of my papers, and when people even 
pressed me to W'rite, blaming me for my indifference, an 
invisible hand held me back, and my peace and confidence 
were so great that I could not interfere in anything. 
Some time after I received a letter from our domestic 
ecclesiastic, telling me he was ordered to come and see 
me, and bring my papers. I had sent to me from Paris a 
considerable package for my daughter. It was lost on the 
lake, and I could get no news of it, but I gave myself no 
trouble. I believed still it would be found. The man Avho 
had put it on board had for a month made search in all 


the neighbourhood, without being able to learn any news 
of it. At the end of three months a person had it brought 
to us. It was found in the house of a poor man. He had 
not opened it, and did not know who had brought it there. 

Once when I had sent for all the money which had to 
supply my wants for an entire year, the person who had been 
to cash the letter of exchange, having placed the money 
in two bags on a horse, forgot that it was there, and gave 
his horse to a boy to lead. He let the money fall from the 
horse in the middle of the market-place of Geneva. I 
arrived at that moment, coming from the other side, and 
having got out of my litter, the first thing I found was my 
money, over which I walked ; and what is surprising is 
that, though there was a great crowd on that spot, no one 
had seen it. Many similar things have happened to me, 
which I do not mention, to avoid tediousness, contenting 
myself with these examples to show the protection of God. 

The Bishop of Geneva continued to persecute me, and 
when he wrote to me it was always with expressions of 
politeness and thanks for the charities I bestowed at Gex ; 
on the other hand, he said I gave nothing to that House. 
He even wrote against me to the Ursulines, where I was 
staying, commanding them to prevent my having conference 
with Father La Combe, " for fear of disastrous results." 
The Superior of the House, a man of merit, and the 
Prioress, as well as the Community, were so indignant that 
they could not avoid declaring it to himself. He excused 
himself by an outward professed respect, and a " I did not 
intend it in that sense." They wrote him that I saw the 
Father only at the confessional, not in conference, that 
they were so edified by me that they were very happy to 
have me, and that they considered it a great favour from 
God. What they said out of pure love was displeasing to 
the Bishop, who, seeing I v/as loved in this House, said 
that I gained over every one, and he wished I was out of 
the diocese. Although I Imew all this, and that these good 


Sisters were much pained at it, I could feel none, owing to 
the fixedness of my soul, your will, my God, rendering 
everything alike to me. I find you as well in one thing as 
in another, and since your will is yourself, everything in 
this will is to me you, my Love ; so that all the pains 
which creatures can cause, however unreasonable and 
even passionate they may appear, are not regarded in 
themselves, but in God — not that the soul has this actual 
view, but it is so : and the habitual faith makes everything 
be seen in God without distinction. So when I see poor 
souls give themselves so much trouble for idle talk, being 
always on the watch beforehand, or clearing up matters, 
I pity them for their lack of enlightenment ; and the more 
of grace souls have, the more strange that appears to me. 
Nevertheless, one has reasons which self-love makes appear 
very sound. 

To relieve me a little from the fatigue which continual 
conversations caused me (I say fatigue, for the body was 
quite languishing from the strength of God's operation), 
I asked Father La Combe on his arrival to allow me a 
retreat, and to say that he wished me to make one. He 
told them so, but they could hardly leave me in repose. 
It was then that I allowed myself the whole day to be 
devoured by love, which had no other operation but to 
consume me little by little. It was then also that I felt 
the quality of " spiritual Mother," for God gave me a some- 
thing for the perfection of souls, which I could not conceal 
from Father La Combe. It seemed to me that I saw into 
the depth of his soul, and the minutest recesses of his 
heart. Our Lord made me see that he was his servant, 
chosen among a thousand to honour him in a special 
degree, and that there was not a man upon the earth at 
that time on whom he looked with such complaisance as 
on him ; but that he wished to conduct him by total death 
and entire annihilation, that ho wished me to help in it, 
and he would make use of me to cause him to travel the 


road, by which he had first made me pass, only that I 
might be able to conduct others by it, and to tell them 
the routes by which I had passed ; that at present my soul 
was fa: more advanced than his, that God wished to render 
us one and conformable, but that one day he would pass 
her by a bold and impetuous flight. God knows what joy 
I had at it, and with what pleasure I would see my children 
surpass their mother in glory, and that I would willingly 
give myself over in any way that it might be so. 

In this retreat there came to me such a strong move- 
ment to write that I could not resist it. The violence I 
exercised over myself not to do it made me ill, and took 
away my speech. I was very much surprised to find myself 
thus, for this had never happened to me. It was not that 
I had anything particular to write. I had absolutely 
nothing, not even an idea of any kind. It was a simple 
instinct with a fulness I could not support. I was like 
one of those mothers who have too much milk, and suffer 
greatly. After much resistance I told Father La Combe 
the disposition in which I found myself; he answered that 
on his side he had had a strong movement to command 
me to write, but owing to my weak state he had not ven- 
tured to prescribe it for me. I told him the weakness was 
only due to my resistance, and I thought it would pass 
away as soon as I wrote. He asked me, *' But what do you 
wish to write?" "I know nothing about it," I replied. 
** I wish nothing, I have no idea, and I think I should com- 
mit a great infidelity in giving myself one, or thinking for 
a moment on what I might be able to write." He ordered 
me to do it. On taking up the pen I did not know the 
first word of what I was about to write. I set myself to 
write without knowing how, and I found it came to me 
with a strange impetuosity. What surprised me most was 
that it flowed from my central depth, and did not pass 
through my head. I was not yet accustomed to this 
manner of writing, yet wrote an entire treatise on the 


whole interior way under a comparison with streams and 
rivers. Although it was tolerably long, and the comparison 
was kept up to the end, I have never formed a thought, 
nor even taken any care where I left off, and, in spite of 
continual interruptions, I have never read over anything^ 
except at the end, where I read over a line or two owing to a 
word having been left out ; even then I thought I had com- 
mitted an infidelity. Before writing I did not know what I 
was going to write. When it was written I thought no more 
of it. I should have committed an infidelity in retaining 
any thought to put it down, and our Lord gave me grace 
that this did not happen. As I wrote I found myself 
relieved, and I became better. 

As the way by which God was leading Father La Combe 
was very different from that by which he had hitherto 
walked, which had been all light, ardour, knowledge, certi- 
tude, assurance, feelings, and that now he made him go 
by the narrow path of faith and of nakedness, he had very 
great trouble in adapting himself to it ; which caused me 
no small suffering, for God made me feel and pay with 
extreme rigour all his resistance. Who could express what 
he has cost my heart before he was formed according to 
yours and according to your will ? Only you, my God, 
who have done it, know. The more precious that soul is in 
your eyes, the more dearly have you made me pay. I can 
indeed say that it is upon me the robe of the new life you 
have given him has been remade. I was subjected to a 
double pain ; the one was that the possession which God 
had of my soul became every day more strong, so that 
sometimes I passed the day without it being possible for 
me to pronounce a word : for God then wished to bury me 
more deeply into himself, and to annihilate me more in 
him, in order to make me pass into him by a complete 
transformation. Although my state was without sensi- 
bility, it was so profound, and God became more and 
more so powerfully the master, that he did not leave me a 


movement of my own. This state did not prevent me from 
condescending to my sister and the other nuns ; however, 
the useless things in which they were occupied could hardly 
suit my taste, and this was the reason which led me to ask 
for keeping a retreat, that I might let myself be possessed 
to the good pleasure of him who held me closely clasped 
in an inexpressible manner. At this time he purified a 
remnant of nature, very subtle and delicate, so that my 
soul found herself in extreme purity. It was then the 
partitions of which I have spoken were consumed. I have 
seen nothing of the kind since, for the intimate union of 
lover and loved took place, so that both were made one 
and identical. 

It was then it was given me to write in a i)urely 
divine manner. All I had written formerly was tested, 
was condemned to the fire by Love, the examiner, who 
found defects in all that appeared the most perfect. I 
resisted, as I have said, but God became so powerfully the 
master that he harassed me to death when I resisted in 
the least thing. God, how I then experienced those 
words, " Who can resist God and live in peace ? " I was 
not yet experienced in the way he makes himself obeyed by 
a soul which he perfectly possesses. Owing to this I did 
not surrender at first, but finally I followed the movement 
of the Spirit in what he caused me to do, and although I 
did not take thought to arrange the matter, nor even as 
to what I was writing, it was found as connected and as 
correct as if I had taken all imaginable care to put it in 

You desired, my God, in order to accustom me to the 
suppleness of your Spirit, to exact of me for a time things 
which cost me much and caused me serious crosses. Our 
Lord bound me more closely with Father La Combe, but 
by a union as pure as it was spiritual. He willed that I 
should tell him the minutest of my thoughts, or write them 
to him; for as he was often absent either on missions, 


which he was continually engaged in, or for the business 
of the House, he was not often at Tonon. This cost me 
much, for it was a thing I had never done when formerly 
I might have conveniently done it, while I was still in 
myself, and when I could speak to directors ; but now it 
appeared to me mere loss of time. I imagined even for 
lack of experience that it could not be done without 
reflection, and as reflection was entirely opposed to my 
state, it would be very injurious to me. I said with the 
Bride, "I have washed my feet; how shall I soil them? 
I have put off my robe; how shall I put it on again?" 
My mind, which is naked, shall it again be filled ? After 
having been subjected to God alone, must I be so to 
the creature ? For I did not then understand the design of 
God therein. If I had been mistress of myself, I would 
have gladly escaped, but I could not ; for besides that our 
Lord chastised me very rigorously when I resisted him in 
the least, my mind remained always occupied by the 
thought until I had obeyed, and, far from having its former 
clearness, it defiled itself by these particulars; and although 
they were good things, or at least indifferent, that pure and 
clear void was thereby spoiled. If you stir up water with 
a rod of gold or of wood, it is none the less disturbed ; but 
as soon as I had mentioned the thought my mind resumed 
its former peace, its clearness and its emptiness. I was 
surprised to see that the need of writing to him increased 
each day in the design and order of God : but what 
reassured me was, that I was so disengaged from any 
feeling or attachment in respect of him, that I was 
astonished. The more powerful the union became, the 
more we were united to God, and removed from human 
sentiments. I was still more led to pardon nothing in him, 
and to desire his self-annihilation, that God alone might 
reign. "With much fidelity I told him all that God gave 
me to know he desired of him, and this I would gladly have 
evaded. The obHgation God imposed on me to tell him 


the radical defects of the Sister who had charge of my 
daughter (as he was prejudiced in her favour, owing to the 
illumination she had told him she had) irritated him 
against me several days. When I told him anything, this 
produced in him disgust for me and alienation. Our Lord 
made me painfully feel it, although he said nothing to me. 
I experienced that our Lord obliged me to keep hold on 
him, and made me pay by suffering for his infidelity. On 
the other hand, if I wished to say nothing to him, and to 
keep back views which only served to offend him, our Lord 
harassed me to death, and gave me no rest until I had 
declared to him both my pain and my thought ; so that I 
suffered thereby a martyrdom exceeding anything that can 
be told, and which has been very protracted. 



Our Lord, willing that I should bear him in all his states, 
from the first to the last, as I shall tell, and willing to 
make me perfectly simple, gave me in regard to Father 
La Combe such a miraculous obedience that, in what- 
ever extremity of illness I might be, I grew well when, 
either by word of mouth or by letter, he ordered it. I 
believe our Lord did it to make me express Jesus Christ 
the Child, and also to be a sign and evidence to this good 
Father, who, having been conducted by evidences, could 
not leave that way ; and in whatever was told him, or 
which God made him experience, he still kept seeking 
evidences. It is where he had the greatest trouble to die, 
and that by which he has made me suffer so much. Our 
Lord, to make him enter more easily into that which he 
desired of him and of me, gave him the greatest of all 
evidences in this miraculous obedience : and to show that it 
did not depend on me, and that God gave it for him, when 
he was sufficiently strong to do without any evidence, and 
God wished to make him enter upon self-annihilation, 
this obedience was taken away from me, so that, without 
paying any attention to it, I was unable longer to obey : 
and this was done to annihilate him the more, and to take 
from him the support of this evidence ; for then all my 
efforts were useless : I had inwardly to follow him who was 
my master, and who gave me this repugnance to obeying, 


which lasted only so long as was necessary to destroy the 
support he would have found — and perhaps I also — in 
obedience. I had then so strong an instinct for his 
perfection and to see him die to himself, that I would 
have wished him all the ills imaginable, far from pitying 
him. When he was not faithful, or took things so as to 
nourish the self-life, I felt myself devoured ; and this 
surprised me not a little after the indifference I had 
hitherto maintained. I complained of it to our Lord, 
who with extreme kindness reassured me, and also as to 
the extreme dependence he gave me, which became such 
that I was like a child. 

My sister had brought me a maid, whom God wished 
to give me to fashion in his manner, not without crucifying 
me — a thing that I expect will never be ; for when our 
Lord gives me persons, he always gives them at the same 
time the means of making me suffer, whether to direct 
those persons themselves to the interior way, or in order 
tliat I should never be without a cross. She was a girl 
to whom our Lord had given singular grace, and who was 
so highly reputed in her country that she passed for a 
saint. Our Lord brought her to me to make her see the 
difference of sanctity conceived and comprised in gifts — 
with which she was then endowed — and sanctity which is 
acquu-ed by our entire destruction, by the loss of those 
very gifts, and of that which we are. This girl fell 
seriously ill. Our Lord gave her the same dependence 
on me as I had on Father La Combe — with some distinc- 
tion, however. I helped her to the best of my ability, but 
I found that I had hardly anything to say to her, except 
to command her ailment and her disposition ; and whatever 
I said was done. Then I learned what it is to command 
by the Word, and to obey by the same Word. I found in 
me Jesus Christ commanding and likewise obeying. Our 
Lord gave power to the Devil to torment this poor girl, as 
in Job's case. The Devil, as if he was not strong enough 


alone, brought witli him five, who reduced her to such a 
state with her disease, that she was at death's door. 
These wretches fled when I approached her bed, and I 
had hardly gone out when they returned with greater 
fury, and they said to her : " It is to have compensation 
for the ill she has done us " — speaking of me. 

As I saw she was too much crushed, and her weak 
body could no longer endure the torment they caused her, 
I forbade their approaching her for a time : they left at 
once. But the next day at waking I had a strong impulse 
to allow them to visit her; they returned with so much 
fury that they reduced her to extremity. After having 
thus given some relaxation at different intervals, and 
allowed them to return, I had a strong movement to 
forbid them to attack her any more. I forbade them : 
they returned no more. Nevertheless she still continues 
ill, until one day she had received our Lord in such weak- 
ness that she could scarcely swallow the sacred Host. 
After dinner I had a strong impulse to say to her, " Get 
up, and be no longer ill." The nuns were very much 
astonished, and as they knew nothing of what was going on, 
and they saw her on foot after having been in the morning 
at extremity, they attributed her illness to the vapours. 

As soon as the devils were withdrawn from this girl, I 
felt as if by an impression the rage they were in against 
me. I was in my bed, and I said to them, ** Come and 
torment me if your Master allows it; " but, so far from 
doing this, they fled from me. I understood at once that 
the devils fear worse than hell a soul that has been 
annihilated, and that it is not the souls who are conducted 
by faith they attack, for the reason I have already given. 
I felt in myself such an authority over the devils that, 
far from fearing them, it seemed to me I would make them 
fly from hell if I was there. It should be known that the 
soul of whom I speak, in whom Jesus Christ lives and acts, 
does not perform miracles as those who perform them by 


a power in them of performing miracles. They are per- 
formed by the annihilation of the soul, for as she is no 
longer anything, nothing of all this can be attributed to 
her ; therefore when the movement urges, she does not 
say, "Be healed in the name of Jesus Christ," for this 
"Be healed in the name of Jesus Christ" is a power 
in the person of performing miracles in the name of Jesus 
Christ. Here it is not the same ; it is Jesus Christ who 
performs the miracle, and who says through that person, 
"Be healed," and the man is healed; "Let the devils 
depart," and they depart. When one says this, one knows 
not why one says it, nor what causes one to say it ; but it 
is the Word who speaks and operates what he says. " He 
spoke, and they were made." One does not utter prayers 
beforehand, for these miracles are performed without any 
previous design, and without the soul looking upon it as 
a miracle. One says quite naturally what is given one 
to say. Jesus Christ willed to pray at the resurrection of 
Lazarus, but he said that he did it only for the sake of 
those who were present, for he says to his Father, "I know 
that you hear me always, but I say it that these may 
believe you have sent me." Other servants of God, 
honoured with the gift of miracles, pray, and thereby 
obtain what they desire; but here it is the Word who 
uses his authority, and who acts by the speech of the 
person in whom he lives and reigns. 

Hereupon I must remark two things : one, that the 
souls of whom I speak do not ordinarily perform miracles 
by giving anything, or by simply touching ; but it is by 
the word, although they sometimes accompany it with 
touching. It is the all-powerful Word. The other thing 
is that these miracles require the consent, or at least that 
there should be no opposition, in the person on whom they 
are performed. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked the good 
people he healed, " Do you wish to be healed ? " Was 
there a doubt in the matter, that people who came to him 


for it, or who desired nothing else, wished it? Here is 
the secret of the operation of the Word, and of the liberty 
of man. On the dead, or on inanimate substances, it is 
not the same. He said, and his saying is doing ; but here 
the consent of the soul is required. I have many times 
experienced it, and I felt in myself how God not only 
respects the liberty of man, but even how he wishes a free 
consent ; for when I said ** Be healed," or for interior pains 
**Be delivered from your pains," if they acquiesced with- 
out any answer, they were healed, and the word was 
efficacious ; if they resisted under good pretexts, as saying, 
*' I shall be healed when it will please God," " I do not 
wish to be healed but when he wills," or in desi^air, " I 
shall never escape from my pain," then the word had no 
effect, and I felt it in myself. I felt that the virtue 
retired into me, and I experienced what our Lord said, 
when the diseased woman touched him, and he asked, 
" Who touched me ? " The apostles answered, ** The 
crowd surrounds you, and you ask who has touched you." 
*' It is," answered our Lord, " that a divine virtue has 
gone out from me." In the same way Jesus Christ in me, 
or rather through me, made this divine virtue to flow out 
by means of his word ; but when this virtue was not 
received in the subject, owing to want of corresiDondence, I 
felt it suspended in its source, and this caused me a kind 
of pain. I would be in a way vexed with those persons ; 
but when there was no resistance, and a full acquiescence, 
the divine virtue had its full effect. One cannot conceive 
the delicacy of this divine virtue ; although it is so power- 
ful on inanimate objects, on man the least thing either 
arrests it altogether or restrains it. 

There was a worthy nun afflicted with a violent 
temptation. She went and told a Sister, whom she 
believed very spiritual and in a state to help her : but, far 
from finding help, she was violently repulsed. The other 
despised her, and even harshly treating her because she 


had temptations, said to her, "Do not come near me, I 
IDra}', since you are of that kind." This poor girl came to 
see me in terrible distress, believing herself lost, owing to 
what the Sister had said to her. I consoled her, and om- 
Lord relieved her at once ; but I could not refrain from 
saying that assuredly the other would be punished, and 
that she would fall into a worse state. The one who had 
so used her came to see me, very well satisfied with 
herself ; and she told me what she had answered, adding 
that she had a horror of persons who are tempted, that for 
herself she was safe from all this, and that she never had 
had a bad thought. I said to her, " My Sister, for the 
friendship I have for you, I wish you the trouble of her 
who has spoken to you, and even a more violent one." She 
answered me j)roudly enough, " If you ask it of God for me 
and I ask the contrary, I think I shall be as soon heard as 
you." I answered her firmly, " If it is my own interest I 
regard, I shall not be heard ; but if it is the interest of God 
only and yours, he will do it sooner than you fancy." I 
said this without reflection. The same night — it was 
evening when we were speaking — she entered into such a 
violent and furious temptation, the like of which was 
hardly ever seen ; it continued with the same strength for 
a fortnight. It was then she had full opportunity to 
recognize her weakness, and what we should be without 
grace. At first she conceived an excessive hatred for mo, 
saying I was the cause of her trouble; but as it served, 
like the mud which enlightened the man born blind, she 
saw very well what had brought on her such a terrible 

I fell exceeding ill. This illness was a means to cover 
the great mysteries which God desired to operate in me. 
Never was there a malady more extraordinary or more 
continued in its intensity. It lasted from Holy Cross Day 
of September to that of May. I was reduced to the state 
of a little child, but a state which was apparent only 


to those who could understand; for as to the others, I 
appeared in an ordinary condition. I was reduced to the 
dependence of Jesus Christ, the Child, who wished to 
communicate himself to me in his state of childhood, and 
that I should bear him as such. This state was com- 
municated to me almost immediately on my falling ill, 
and a dependence corresponding to the state. The further 
I advanced, the more was I set free from this dependence, 
as children gradually emerge from dependence in propor- 
tion to their growth. My illness at first was a continuous 
fever of forty days. From the Holy Cross of September 
up to Advent it was a less violent fever, but after Advent it 
seized me in a more violent manner. In spite of my illness 
the Master willed I should receive him at Christmas 
midnight. Christmas Day my childhood became greater, 
and my illness increased. The fever intensified so that I 
was delirious ; besides, there was an abscess at the corner 
of the eye, which caused great pain. It opened entirely at 
this time, and they dressed it, for a long time passing in 
an iron up to the bottom of the cheek. I had such 
burning fever and so much weakness that they were 
obliged to allow it to close again without healing, for my 
exhausted body could not endure the operations without 
danger of instantly expiring. I suffered with extreme 
patience ; but it was like a child, who knows not what is 
done to him. I experienced at the same time both the 
strength of a God and the weakness of a little child, with a 
corresponding dependence. This mode of action was so 
foreign to my natural character that nothing less than the 
power of a God was needed to make me enter into it. I 
gave myself up to it, however, for my interior was such and 
was so powerfully urged by God, that I could not resist 
him. I was, not to press the comparison, like those who 
are possessed by the Evil Spirit, who makes them do what 
he wishes ; thus the Spirit of God was so completely the 
master, that I had to do everything that pleased him. 


His will was not concealed from me ; he led me from within 
like a child, while he rendered my whole exterior childlike. 
They often brought me the Eucharist ; the Superior of the 
House having ordered that this consolation should be 
allowed me, seeing the extremity I was in. As Father La 
Combe often brought it to me, when the confessor of the 
House was not there, he remarked, and the nuns who were 
familiar with me also remarked it, that I had the face 
of a little child. In his astonishment he several times 
said to me, " It is not you ; it is a little child that I see." 
For myself, I saw nothing within but the candour and 
innocence of a little child. I had its weaknesses ; I some- 
times wept from pain, but this was not known. I played 
and laughed in a way that charmed the girl who attended 
me ; and those good nuns, who knew nothing about it, 
said that I had something which surprised and charmed 
them at the same time. 

Our Lord, however, with the weaknesses of his child- 
hood gave me the power of a God over souls, so that with 
a word I cast them into trouble or peace, according as 
was necessary for the good of those souls. I saw that God 
made himself obeyed in me and through me, as an absolute 
Sovereign, and I no longer resisted him. I took no part 
in anything ; you might have performed, my God, in me 
and through me the greatest miracles, and I should not 
have been able to reflect upon it. I felt within a candour 
of soul, without taint, which I cannot express. Moreover, 
I had to continue telling my thoughts to Father La Combe, 
or else writing them to him and aiding him, according to 
the light that was given to me. I often was so weak that 
I could not raise my head to take food, and when God 
desired I should write to him, either to aid and encourage 
him, or to explain what our Lord gave me to know, I had 
the strength to write. As soon as my letters were finished, 
I found myself in the same weakness. I was very much 
surprised to understand by experience that what you had 

VOL. II. c 


uislied of me, my God, in obliging me thus to tell all my 
thoughts, had been to perfect me in simplicity, and to 
make Father La Combe enter into it, rendering me supple 
to all your wishes ; for whatever cross it was to me to tell 
my thoughts, and although Father La Combe often was 
offended to the point of disgust at serving me, and he let 
me know it (while yet through charity he got the better of 
his repugnance), I never for that ceased from telling them 
to him. 

Our Lord had made us understand that he united us 
by faith and by the cross, so that it has indeed been a 
union of the cross in every way ; as well from what I have 
made him suffer himself, and he in turn has made me 
suffer (which was very much more than anything I can 
tell), as from the crosses which this has drawn upon us 
from outside. The sufferings I had in respect of him were 
such that I was reduced to extremity, and they endured 
many years ; for although I have been longer at a distance 
from him than near him, this has not relieved my ill, 
which has continued until he has been perfectly annihilated 
and reduced to the point God wished for him. This 
operation has made him suffer pains the more severe in 
proportion as the designs God had for him were the greater, 
and he has caused me cruel pains. When I was a hundred 
leagues away from him, I felt his disposition. If he was 
faithful in allowing himself to be destroyed, I was in peace 
and free ; if he was unfaithful, in reflection or hesitation, I 
suffered strange torments until it was over. There was no 
necessity for him to tell me his state, that I should know it. 
I was often laid upon the ground the whole day, without 
being able to move, in agony, and after having for a fort- 
night in this way endured sufferings which surpassed all I 
ever suffered in my life, I received letters from him, by 
which I learned his state to be such as I had felt it. Then 
suddenly I felt that he had re-entered on the state in which 
God wished him ; and then I experienced that gradually 


my soul found a peace and a great freedom, which was 
more or less, according as he gave himself up more or less 
to our Lord. This was not a voluntary thing in me, but 
compulsory ; for if nature could have shaken off this yoke, 
more hard and painful than death, it would have done so. 
I said, union necessary, and not voluntary, thou art 
not voluntary only because I am not any more mistress of 
myself, and I must yield to him who has taken so powerful 
a possession of me after I have given myself to him freely 
and without any reserve. My heart had in itself an echo 
and counter-stroke, which told it all the dispositions this 
Father was in ; but while he resisted God I suffered such 
horrible torments that I sometimes thought it would tear 
out my life. I was obliged from time to time to throw 
myself on the bed, and in that way bear the suffering which 
seemed to me unbearable; for, in short, to bear a soul, 
however distant the person may be from us, and to suffer 
all the rigours that Love makes her suffer, and all her 
resistance : this is strange. 

20 .MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 


My sister was in no way capable of understanding my 
state, so that often she was offended at it. She got vexed 
when one concealed one's self in the least from her, and 
she could not appreciate a state that many persons more 
spiritual than she would have been unable to understand ; 
so that I suffered much from every quarter in this malady. 
The distress from the great pain was the least ; that from 
the creature was very different. My only consolation was 
to receive our Lord, and sometimes to see Father La 
Combe ; moreover, I had to suffer much from him, as I 
have said, bearing all his different dispositions. I was 
strangely exercised by my sister, by that nun, and by 
the maid who wanted to return to France. Whatever 
extremity I might be in, I had to listen to their differences, 
which they told me, the one after the other ; then they 
quarrelled with me for not taking their side. They did 
not let me sleep — for as the fever was more intense at night, 
I could only sleep for an hour, and I would gladly have 
slept by day : but they would not have it, saying it was 
only to avoid speaking to them — so that I required very 
great patience to bear with them. It lasted more than six 
months. I think this partly was the cause of a revery 
I had for two days together ; for I did not sleep, and I 
continued to hear a noise, with a terrible headache. I 
complained of nothing, and I suffered gaily, like a child. 


Father La Combe commanded them to give me some rest : 
for some days they did so, but it did not last ; they recom- 
menced immediately. 

I cannot express the mercies which God showed me in 
this illness, and the profound lights he gave me on the 
future. I saw the Devil let loose against prayer and 
against me, and that he was about to stir up a strange 
persecution against people of prayer. I wrote all this to 
Father La Combe, and unless he has burned the letters, 
they ought to be still in existence. The Devil did not dare 
attack me myself ; he feared me too much. Sometimes I 
defied him, but he did not venture to appear, and I was for 
him like a thunderbolt. I understood then what power a 
self-annihilated soul has. Our Lord made me see all 
that has since happened, as the letters of that time prove. 
One day that I was thinking to myself of the nature of a 
dependence so great, and a union so pure and intimate, 
twice in a dream I saw Jesus Christ, the Child, of surpassing 
beauty, and, it seems to me, he united us very closely as 
he said, " It is I who unite you, and who wish you to be 
one." Another time he made me see the Father, as he was 
wandering away from me through want of fidelity, and he 
brought him back with extreme kindness, and willed him 
to aid me in my state of childhood, as I aided him in his 
state of death ; but I did not cause suffering to him. It 
was only I who had to suffer. He had an extreme charity 
for me, treating me as a real child, and he often said to 
me, " When I am near you I am as if I was near a little 
child." I was repeatedly reduced to extremity every ninth 
day, and ready to die, without, however, dying. I had, as 
it were, the last agony. I was many hours without breath- 
ing, except at long intervals ; then I came back on a sudden. 
Death flattered me, for I had for it a great tenderness, but 
it only appeared as flying away. The Father forbade me 
to rejoice at dying, and I at once knew that it was im- 
perfect, and did it no more. I remained in supreme 


indijfiference. During this illness so many extraordinary 
things happened that it would be impossible for me to 
relate them. God continually performed miracles by 
Father La Combe, as well to relieve me and give me new 
strength when I was at extremity, as to show to him the 
care he ought to have of me, and the dependence I should 
have on him. I was like a little child, without thinking 
of myself or my illness. I would have gone without food 
every day for want of thinking of it, and whatever was 
given I took, though it might be fatal to me. In my illness 
I was wrongly treated ; the remedies increased it, but I 
could not trouble myself in the matter. I always had a 
smiling face in my greatest sufferings, so that every one 
was astonished. The nuns had extreme compassion for 
me ; it was I alone who had no feeling for myself. Many 
times in dreams I saw Father La Mothe stirring up perse- 
cutions against me. Our Lord made me know that he 
would greatly torment me, and that Father La Combe 
would leave me during the time of persecution. I wrote to 
him, and this hurt him much, because he felt his heart too 
united to the will of God, and too desirous of serving me 
in this same will, to act so. He thought that it was 
through distrust, but it turned out perfectly true ; he left 
me in the persecution, not of his will, but through necessity, 
having been himself the first persecuted. 

The day of the Purification, when I had relapsed into 
a very severe fever, the Father ordered me to go to the 
Mass. For twenty-two days I had had continued fever, 
more violent than ordinary. I did not give a single 
thought to my state, but I got up and attended at the 
Mass, and returned to my bed much worse than before. 

It was a day of grace for me, or, rather, for the Father. 
God showed him very great grace in regard to me. Near 
Lent the Father, without giving attention to the fact that 
he had to preach at Lent, when he saw me so ill, said to 
our Lord to relieve me, and that he would bear a part of 


my disease. He told our maids to ask the same thing, 
namely, that he might relieve me in the way he meant. 

It is true I was a little better, and he fell ill, which 
caused great alarm in the place, seeing he had to preach. 
He was so much run after that people used to come from 
five leagues' distance and pass several days there to hear 
him. "When I learned he was so ill on Shrove Tuesday 
that they thought he would die, I offered myself to our 
Lord to become more ill, and that he would restore health 
to him, and enable him to preach to his people, who were 
hungering to hear him. Our Lord heard me, so that he 
mounted the pulpit on Ash Wednesday. 

It was in this illness, my Lord, that by degrees you 
taught me that there is another way than by speech for 
conversing with the creatures, who are entirely yours. 
You made me conceive, Divine Word, that as you are 
always speaking and working in a soul, although you there 
appear in a profound silence, there was also a means of 
communication in your creatures, and by your creatures 
in an ineffable silence. I learned then a language unknown 
to me before. I perceived gradually that when Father La 
Combe was brought in either to confess me or give me the 
Communion, I could no longer speak to him, and that 
there took place in my central depth towards him the 
same silence which took place towards God. I understood 
that God wished me to learn that even in this life men 
might learn the language of the angels. Little by little I 
was reduced to speaking to him only in silence; it was 
then that we understood each other in God, in a manner 
ineffable and quite divine. Our hearts spoke and com- 
municated to each other a grace which cannot be told. It 
was an altogether new country for him and me, but divine 
beyond expression. At the commencement this took place 
in a more perceptible manner, that is to say, that God so 
powerfully penetrated us with himself, and his divine Word 
made us so entirely one in him, but in a manner so pure 


and so sweet, that we passed hours in this profound 
silence, still communicating, without being able to say a 
single word. It was there we learned by our experience the 
communications and operations of the Word, in order to 
reduce souls into his unity, and to what purity one may 
attain therein. It was given me to communicate in this 
way with other good souls, but with this difference, that for 
the others I alone communicated the grace with which, 
in this sacred silence, they were filled from me, com- 
municating to them an extraordinary strength and grace ; 
but I received nothing from them. In the case of the 
Father, I experienced that there was a flux and reflux of 
communication of graces, which he received from me and 
I from him ; that he gave to me and I to him the same 
grace in an extreme purity. 

It was then I understood the ineffable intercourse of the 
Holy Trinity communicated to all the Blessed, how there 
is an outflow from God into all the souls of all the Blessed, 
and that this same God who communicates himself to 
them causes in them a flux and reflux of his divine 
communications ; that the Blessed spirits and the saints of 
a like degree or hierarchy reciprocally give by a flux and 
reflux of communication these divine outflowings, which 
then they distribute upon the inferior hierarchies, and 
that everything is reduced to its first principle, whence all 
these communications proceed. I saw that we were 
created to participate during this life in the ineffable 
happiness of intercourse with the Trinity, and in the flux 
and reflux of the divine Persons, which end in Unity of 
principle, and become again Unity without ever for a 
moment arresting the fruitfulness and communication 
between them ; principle without principle, which inces- 
santly communicates, and receives all it communicates; 
that it was necessary to be very pure to receive God in 
simplicity, and to allow him to flow back in himself in 
that purity ; and that it was necessary also to be very pm*e 


to receive and communicate the Divine Word, and then to 
distribute him by a flux and reflux of communication upon 
the other souls which God gives us. It is this which 
makes us one in God himself, and perfects us in the divine 
Unity, where we are made one same thing in him from 
whom all originates. 

I learned by experience then this hierarchic order, and 
these reciprocal communications between the saints of a 
similar rank and the angels of a similar order, and this 
outflow on the inferior saints and spirits, and that with 
such fulness that they were all filled according to their 
degree. This communication is God himself, who com- 
municates himself to all the Blessed in a personal flux 
and reflux; such as he communicates himself from 
within, such he communicates himself from without, to 
his saints, and they are all rendered participators of 
the ineffable commerce of the Holy Trinity. It is to 
render the soul capable of this communication, that it is 
necessary for her to be purified so powerfully and so 
radically ; otherwise she would still be self-moved ; she 
would still retain something in her, and by such retention 
would not be suitable for the ineffable commerce of the 
Holy Trinity. Further, it is necessary to enlarge her 
capacity of reception, which, being extremely restricted and 
limited by sin, can only by fire and hammer-blows be put in 
a state suitable to the eternal designs of God in her creation. 
It was shown me how this hierarchic order existed even 
in this life, and that there were souls who without know- 
ing it communicated with an infinity of others, and to 
whom grace for the perfection of the others was attached ; 
and that this hierarchy would last through all eternity, 
where the souls of the Blessed would receive from the 
same persons through whom grace had been communicated 
to them; and that those who mutually communicated 
would be in the same degree. It was then I learned the 
secret of spiritual fruitfulness and maternity ; and how the 


Holy Spirit renders souls fruitful in himself, giving them 
to communicate to others the Word which he communicates 
to them — what St. Paul calls "the formation of Jesus 
Christ, and begetting in Jesus Christ " — and that it was 
in this way that children without number would be given 
to me, as well known as unknown. All those who are my 
true children have from the first a tendency to remain in 
silence near me, and I have an instinct to communicate 
to them in silence what God has given me for them. In 
this silence I discover their wants and their deficiencies, 
and I communicate to them in God himself all that is 
needed for them. They very well feel what they receive 
and what is communicated to them in abundance. When 
once they have tasted this manner of communion, all 
others become troublesome. For myself, when I use 
speech and pen with souls, it is only owing to their weak- 
ness I do it, and because either they are not sufiiciently 
pure for the interior communication, or it is still needful 
to use condescension, or to settle external matters. 

Our Lord made me experience with the saints of 
heaven the same communication as with the saints on 
earth ; and this is the way of being truly united to the 
saints in God. I experienced these communications very 
strong and very intimate, especially with those with whom 
one has a greater relation of grace, and to whom one will 
be more closely united in heaven. At the commencement 
it was more sensible, because our Lord had the kindness 
to instruct me by experience. It is the way he has always 
acted with me ; he has not enlightened me by illumination 
and knowledge, but while making me experience the 
things, he has given me the understanding of what I 

I understood also the maternity of the Holy Virgin, 
and in what manner we participate in her maternity, and 
how the saying of Jesus Christ is real, when he says, 
that he who does the will of his Father, becoming one 


will with his, is made his mother, his brother, and his 
sister. They are truly made his mothers, producing him 
in souls. 

It was in this ineffable silence I understood the manner 
in which Jesus Christ communicated himself to his 
intimates, and the communication of St. John on the 
breast of our Lord at the Last Supper. It was not the 
first time that he had so placed himself, and it was 
because he was very fit to receive those divine com- 
munications that he was the chosen and loved disciple. It 
was at this great banquet that Jesus Christ, as Word, 
flowed into John, and discovered to him the most profound 
secrets, before communicating himself to him in the 
mastication of his body. And it is then there was com- 
municated to him that wonderful secret of the eternal 
generation of the Word, because he was rendered a 
participator in the ineffable intercourse of the Holy 
Trinity. He knew that therein is the characteristic of the 
true children of God, and how the silent speech operated ; 
for this speech in silence is the most noble, the most 
exalted, the most sublime of all operations. It was then he 
learned the difference of being " born of the flesh, of the will 
of man, or of the will of God." The operations of the flesh 
are those of carnal men, those of the will of man are those 
which are virtuous, being done by the goodwill of the 
man ; but those of which I speak are those of the will of 
God, where man has no other part but the consent which 
he gives to them, as Mary did : " Let it be unto me 
according to thy word." She not only gave her consent 
for herself alone that the Word should become incarnate 
in her, but she gave it for all men who are her children — 
that is, for all those who are regenerated in Jesus Christ ; 
she gave, I say, a consent for them that the Word should 
communicate himself to them and that, as the consent 
which Eve had given to the Devil for sin, had caused 
death to enter into all her children, so the consent 


which Mary would give should communicate the life of 
the Word to all her children. 

It is for this that Jesus Christ is " the way, the truth, 
and the life," and that he comes " to enlighten every 
man who comes into the world." " He has come unto 
his own, and his own have not received him." He is 
not known in his most intimate communications except 
to those to whom he has given ** to be made children of 
God," and to become children. It was this wonderful 
mystery which was effected at the foot of the cross, when 
Jesus Christ said to St. John, ** Behold your mother," 
and to the Holy Virgin, " Behold your son." He taught 
St. John that he wished him to receive from the Holy 
Virgin what he used to receive immediately from himself 
before his death ; and he made known to the Holy Virgin 
that he had given to her to communicate herself to St. 
John as to her son, and through him to all the Church. 
It was at that moment that those divine communications 
were given to men through Mary and St. John, and it was 
for this that he wished that his heart should be opened, to 
show that he sent his Spirit through his heart, and that it 
was the spirit of his heart that he communicated. Mary 
received then the gift of producing the "Word in all hearts : 
and as Jesus Christ gave himself by the mastication of his 
body to all men, he wished also to communicate himself 
as the Word to aU spirits of which he is the life. It was 
not only to St. John that this communication was made, 
but it was for us a sensible example of this kind of 
communication. Therefore our Lord said of St. John, " If 
I will that he tarry until I come, what is it to thee ? " He 
did not say that he should not die, but if I will that he 
continue thus, in this ineffable communication, what is 
it to thee ? I propose to communicate myself also to the 
men prepared to receive me in that way. 

wonderful communications, those which passed 
between Mary and St. John ! filiation quite divine, 


who art willing to extend thyself even to me, all unworthy 
as I am! divine Mother, who art willing to com- 
municate your fruitfulness and your altogether divine 
maternity to this poor nothing ! I mean this fecundity of 
hearts and spirits. In order to instruct me thoroughly 
in this mystery, for the sake of others, our Lord willed 
that a maid — she is the one I have spoken of — should 
have need of this help. I have experienced it in all ways, 
and when I did not wish her to remain near me in silence, 
I used to see her interior gradually sink, and even her 
bodily powers diminish, until she was on the point of 
falling in a faint. When I had made sufficient experi- 
ments of this to understand these ways of communication, 
her extreme needs passed away, and I commenced to 
discover, especially with Father La Combe when he was 
absent, that the interior communication took place at a 
distance as well as near. Sometimes our Lord made me 
stop short in the midst of my occupations, and I experienced 
that there went out an outflow of grace, like that I had 
experienced when with him — a thing I have also experienced 
with many others, not altogether in a similar degree, but 
more or less, feeling their infidelities and infallibly know- 
ing their faults by inconceivable impressions ; as I shall 
tell in the sequel. 



In this long sickness, your love alone, my God, con- 
stituted my occupation without occupation. I was 
consumed night and day. I could not see myself in any 
way, so was I lost in you, my Sovereign Good, and it 
seems indeed to my heart that it has never gone out from 
this Divine Ocean, although you have dragged it through 
the mud of the most severe humiliations. Who could 
ever comprehend, my Love, that you made your 
creatures to be so one with you, that they so lose sight of 
themselves as no longer to see anything but you ? loss, 
which is the blessing of blessings, although all is effected 
in crosses, deaths, and bitterness ! 

Jesus the Child was then all living in me, or rather, he 
was existing alone ; I was no longer. You taught me, 
my Love, that your state of childhood would not be the 
only one I must bear ; you impressed upon me these words 
as of a real state, into which you wished me to enter : 
*' The birds of the heaven have nests, and the foxes have 
holes, but the Son of Man has not where to rest his head." 
You have indeed made me experience this state in all its 
extent since that time, having never left me even an 
assured dwelling, where I could rest for more than a few 
months, and every day in uncertainty as to being there on 
the morrow ; besides this, in a total deprivation of all 
creatures, finding refuge neither with my friends, who 


were ashamed of me, and who openly renounced me when 
they saw me decried, nor among my relatives, the greater 
part of whom have declared themselves my adversaries and 
my greatest persecutors. The rest have never regarded 
me but with contempt and indignation. My own children 
ridiculed me in society. It is indeed, my Love, this 
second time much more strongly than the first, although 
in a manner less sensible, that the state of Job should be 
attributed to me ; ** I was," as David says, ** a reproach to 
my neighbom-s, the object of public ridicule." But before 
going on I must continue what took place in my illness. 

One night that I was quite awake you showed me to 
myself under the figure — who says figure does not say 
reality ; the brazen serpent which was the figure of Jesus 
Christ was not Jesus Christ — you showed me, I say, under 
the figure of that woman in the Apocalypse, who has the 
moon under her feet, encircled with the sun, twelve stars 
upon the head, who, being with child, cried in the pains of 
childbirth. You explained to me its mystery. You made 
me understand that the moon, which was under her feet, 
signified that my soul was above the vicissitude and 
inconstancy of events; that I was surrounded and pene- 
trated by yourself; that the twelve stars were the fruits 
of this state, and the gifts with which it was honoured; 
that I was pregnant of a fi-uit, which was that spirit you 
wished me to communicate to all my children, whether in 
the manner I have mentioned, or by my writings ; that 
the Devil was that terrible dragon who would use his 
efforts to devour the fruit, and cause horrible ravages 
through all the earth, but that you would preserve this 
fruit of which I was full in yourself, that it should not be 
lost — therefore have I confidence that, in spite of the 
tempest and the storm, all you have made me say or write 
will be preserved — that in the rage in which the Devil 
would be at not succeeding in the design he has conceived 
against this fruit, he would attack me, and would send a 


flood against me to swallow me up ; that this flood would 
be that of calumny, which would be ready to sweep me 
away, but the earth would open — that is to say, the 
calumny would little by little subside. 

You made me see, my God, all the world incensed 
against me, without any one whatever for me, and you 
assured me in the ineffable silence of your eternal speech 
that you would give me millions of children that I should 
bring forth for you by the Cross. I was no longer in a 
state to interest myself in this in the way either of humility 
or joy. I let you do with me, my Divine Love, what you 
pleased, as with a thing that was yours, in which I no 
longer took any personal interest ; my sole interest was 
yours. You made me know how the Devil was about to 
stir up against Prayer a strange persecution, which would 
be the source of this very Prayer, or rather, the means you 
would make use of to establish it. You made me further 
know how you would lead me into the desert, where you 
would support me a time, times, and half a time ; the 
wings which were to carry me were the utter abandonment 
of myself to your holy will and the love of that same 
will. I believe that I am now in the desert, separated from 
all the world by my captivity, and I see, my God, 
already one part of what you made me know in course of 
accomplishment. I wrote all this to Father La Combe, to 
whom you united me still more strongly, impressing upon 
me in relation to him the same words that you had your- 
self impressed upon me : "I unite you in faith and in cross." 

God, you promise nothing in the matter of crosses 
that you do not abundantly give. Could I tell, God, the 
mercies you showed me ? No, they will remain in yourself, 
being of a nature that cannot be described, owing to their 
purity and their depth, free from all distinction. 

During my illness I was often at the point of death, as 

1 have said. One day, when they thought me almost well, 
at four o'clock in the morning I perceived the Dragon, not 


under any form. I did not see him, but I was certain it 
was be. I bad no fear, for, as I bave said, I could not fear 
bim, because my Lord protects me, and keeps me safe under 
the sbadow of bis wings. He emerged as if from the place 
between the side of my bed and the wall, and gave me a 
furious blow on the left foot. I was immediately seized 
witb a great sbivering, which lasted continuously four 
hours ; it was followed by a very sharp fever. Convulsions 
seized me, and the side on which he had struck was half 
dead. The attacks came every morning at the same hour 
as the blow, and the convulsions increased in a marked 
way every day. On the seventh day, after having been all 
the night sometimes without pulse and without speech, 
and sometimes a little better, in the morning I felt the 
convulsions were coming on. I felt at the same time that 
life left the lower parts in proportion as the convulsions 
came higher : they fixed themselves in my entrails. I felt 
then very great pains, and a movement in my entrails, as 
if I had thousands of children, who all moved at the same 
time. In my life I have never felt anything approaching 
that. This lasted a very long time with extreme violence. 
I felt little by little my life was contracting itself round the 
heart. Father La Combe gave me the Extreme Unction, 
the Prioress of the Ursulines having prayed him to do so, 
as they had not their ordinary priest. I was very glad to 
die, and he was not troubled at it. It would be difficult 
to understand without experience how a union, so close that 
there is nothing like it, can bear, without feeling any pain, 
a division such as that of seeing a person die to whom one 
is so firmly attached; he himself was astonished at it. 
But, nevertheless, it is not difficult to conceive that, being 
united only in God himself, in a manner so pure and so 
intimate, death could not divide us ; on the contrary, it 
would have united us still more closely. 

It is a thing I have many times experienced, that 
the least resistance he made to God caused me to suffer 



inexplicable torments ; and to see him die, a prisoner, at a 
distance for ever, did not cause me the shadow of pain. 
He showed then great contentment at seeing me die, and 
we laughed together at the moment which constituted all 
my pleasure ; for our union was different from any that 
can be imagined. However, death still drew near my 
heart, and I felt the convulsions which seized my entrails 
mount up there. I can say I have felt death without 
dying. The Father, who was on his knees near my bed, 
remarked the change in my face, the clouding of my eyes ; 
he saw I was on the point of expiring. He asked me, 
Where was death and the convulsions ? I made a sign that 
they were reaching the heart, and I was about to die. 
God, you did not want me yet ; you reserved me for far other 
pains than those of death, if one can call pains what one 
suffers in the state in which you have placed me by your 
goodness alone. You inspired Father La Combe to place 
his hand over the coverlet in the region of my heart, and 
with a strong voice, heard by those in the room (which was 
almost full), he said to death to pass no further. It obeyed 
his voice, and my heart, recovering a little life, came back. 
I felt those same convulsions descend again into my 
entrails, in the same way as they had mounted up, and 
they continued all the day in the entrails with the same 
violence as before, then descended gradually to the place 
where the Dragon had struck, and this foot was the last 
revivified. For two months on that side a very great 
weakness remained, and even after I was better, and in a 
condition to walk, I could not support myself on that foot, 
XV'hich could hardly bear me. I continued still ill, and in 
languor, and you gave me, my God, yet new evidence of 
your love. How many times did you make use of your 
servant to restore life to me, when I was on the point of 
expiring ! 

As they saw that my ailments did not cease, it was 
thought the air of the lake, on which the convent was 


built, was entirely unsuited to me, and was the cause of so 
many mishaps. It was settled that I must leave it. While 
I was thus ill, our Lord gave Father La Combe the idea of 
establishing a hospital in this place, where there was none, 
to receive the sick poor, and also of instituting a Congrega- 
tion of Dames of Charity, to furnish those who could not 
quit their family to go to the hospital with the means of 
living during their sickness — such as we have in France ; 
no institution of the kind being in this country. I readily 
entered into it, and without any capital but providence 
and some useless rooms that the authorities of the town 
gave, we commenced it. It was dedicated to the Holy 
Child Jesus, and he willed to give the first beds there from 
the money of my annuity which belonged to him. He gave 
such a blessing that many other persons joined. In a little 
time there were about twelve beds, and for the service of 
this hospital he gave three persons of great piety, who, 
without any payment, consecrated themselves to the service 
of the sick. I gave them ointments and remedies which 
they distributed to rich people, who paid, to the profit of 
the sick poor, and to the poor of the town they gave them 
without charge. These good Dames are so well disposed 
that through their charity, and the care of these nuns, this 
hospital is very well maintained. These Dames formed a 
union also to provide for the sick who could not go to the 
hospital ; and I gave them some little rules I had observed 
when in France. They have kept this up with love and 
charity. We had also the devotion to cause every twenty- 
fifth of the month a service of blessing to be celebrated in 
the chapel of the Congregation, which is dedicated to the 
Holy Child Jesus ; and for this we gave a complete outfit 
to the chapel. 

AH these trifling things, which cost little, and which 
succeeded only in the blessing that you gave them, my 
God, drew upon us new persecutions. The Bishoj) of 
Geneva was more offended than ever, and because he saw 


that these little things made me to be loved, he said I 
gained over every one. He openly declared that he could 
not endure me in his diocese, where, however, I had done 
nothing but good, or, rather, you through me. He com- 
menced even to extend his persecutions to the worthy nuns 
who had kindness for me. The Prioress had severe crosses 
through me, but they did not last long; for as I was obliged, 
owing to the air, to withdraw, after having been there 
about two years and a half, they had greater quiet. On 
the other hand, my sister was very tired of that House, and 
as the time for the mineral waters approached, the occasion 
was seized to send her back, together with the maid I 
had brought, and who tormented me so much during all 
my illness. I kept with me only her whom Providence had 
sent me by means of my sister; and I have always believed 
that God had permitted her journey merely that she might 
bring her to me, God having chosen her for me, as suitable 
for the state he wished me to bear. 

While I was still ill at the Ursulines, the Bishop of 
Verceil, who was a very great friend of the Father General 
of the Bernabites, urgently asked him to select among his 
monks a man of merit, piety, and doctrine, in whom he 
could have confidence, and who might serve him as 
theologian and adviser ; that his diocese was in great want 
of this help. The General at once cast his eyes on Father 
La Combe. This was the more feasible, as his six years 
of priorship were coming to an end. The Father General, 
before engaging him with the Bishop of Verceil, wrote to 
him to know if he would have any objection, assuring him 
he would do only what was pleasing to him. Father La 
Combe answered that his only wish was to obey him, and 
he might give whatever order he pleased. He told me of 
this, and that we were about to be entirely separated. I 
had no chagrin thereat. I was very well content that our 
Lord should make use of him under a Bishop who knew 
him, and did him justice. There was still some delay in 


sending him off, as well because the Bishop was still at 
Rome, as that the period of the Father's priorship was not 
yet completed. 

Before leaving the Ursulines, the good hermit, of whom 
I have spoken, wrote me that he urgently prayed me to go 
to Lausanne, which was only six leagues from Tonon on 
the lake, because he still hoped to withdraw his sister, who 
lived there, and convert her. One cannot go there and 
speak of religion without risk. As soon as I was in a state 
to walk, although still very weak, I resolved to go at the 
request of the worthy hermit. We took a boat, and I 
asked Father La Combe to accompany us. We got there 
easily enough ; but as the lake was still a quarter of a 
league distant from the town, in spite of my weakness, I 
had to summon strength to make the journey on foot. We 
could find no carriage. The boatmen supported me as well 
as they could, but this was not enough for the state in 
which I was. When I reached the town, I did not know if 
I had a body ; if it was upon my legs I walked, or on those 
of somebody else. I spoke to that woman with Father La 
Combe : she had been just married, and we could do nothing 
but incur risk ourselves ; for this woman assured us that, 
except for her regard for her brother, whose letters we 
brought, she would have denounced us as having come to 
corrupt the Protestants. We were afterwards near perish- 
ing on the lake in a dangerous place, where a tempest came 
on that would have swallowed us up, had not God protected 
us in his usual way. A few days later, in that very spot, 
a boat with thirty-three persons perished. 



I LEFT then the Ursulines, and a house at a distance from 
the lake was sought for me. The only empty one avail- 
able had every appearance of the utmost poverty. There 
was no chimney except in the kitchen, through which we 
had to pass to reach the room. I took my daughter with 
me, and gave the largest room to her and the maid who 
attended her. I was placed in a little hole with some 
straw, which we went up to by a wooden ladder. As I had 
no furniture but our bedsteads, which were white, I bought 
some rush-seated chairs, with plates and dishes of earthen- 
ware and wood. Never have I tasted such contentment as 
I found in this little spot ; it seemed to me so in harmony 
with Jesus Christ. I relished everything better on wood 
than on silver. I made all my little provisions, thinking 
to live there for a long time. But the Devil did not allow 
me to enjoy so sweet a peace. It would be difficult to tell 
the persecutions I was subjected to. Stones were thrown 
through my windows, falling at my feet. I had got the 
little garden put in order ; at night people came, tore up 
everything, broke the trellis-work, and overturned every- 
thing, as if soldiers had been through it. All night long 
they came to the door and abused mo, making a show of 
breaking in the door. These persons have since told who 
had set them on. Although from time to time I gave in 
charity at Gex, I was none the less persecuted. A lettre de 


cachet was offered to a person to compel Father La Combe 
to remain at Tonon, in the belief that it would be a support 
to me during the persecution ; but we prevented it. I did 
not then know God's designs, and that he would soon with- 
draw me from the place. I can say I have never tasted 
an equal pleasure to that in this poor and solitary little 
place where I lived ; I was happier than kings. But, 
my God, it was still a nest for me, and a place of repose, 
and you willed I should be like you. The Devil, as I have 
said, embittered my persecutors. I was requested to leave 
the diocese, and the good which you caused me to do there, 

my Lord, was more condemned than the greatest crimes : 
the latter were tolerated ; they could not endure me. 
During all this time I never felt grief or regret at what I 
had done in giving up all, nor even a trouble as to not having 
done your will ; not that I was assured of having done it — 
that assurance would have been too much for me — but I 
was so lost that I could neither see nor regard anything, 
taking all equally as from the hand of God, who served out 
to me these crosses either through justice or mercy. The 
Marquise de Prunai, sister of the chief State Secretary and 
Minister of His Eoyal Highness, had sent an express from 
Turin during my illness, to invite me to go to her ; that, 
being persecuted as I was in this diocese, I should find an 
asylum with her ; that meantime things would soften down ; 
and when people should be well disposed, she would return 
with me, and join me and my friend from Paris, who also 
wished to come to work there according to the will of God. 

1 was not then able to carry out what she desired, and I 
made my account to remain at the Ursulines until things 
changed. She spoke no more of it. This lady is of the 
most extraordinary piety, having quitted the Court for 
retirement and to give herself to God. At twenty-two 
years of age, with good natural advantages, she remained 
a widow, and has refused all offers in order to consecrate 
herself to our Lord, whose she is without any reserve. 


"When she knew I was obliged to quit the Ursulines, without 
knowing the manner in which I was treated, she obtained 
a lettre de cachet to oblige Father La Combe to go to Turin, 
and spend some weeks for his own business, and to bring 
me with him, where I should find a refuge. She did all 
this without our knowledge, and, as she has since said, a 
superior power made her do it without knowing the cause. 
If she had thought on the matter, being so prudent as she 
is, she perhaps would not have done it, for the persecutions 
the Bishop of Geneva brought on us in that place caused 
her many humiliations. Our Lord has permitted him to 
pursue me in a surprising manner in all the places where 
I have been, without allowing me truce or respite, although 
I have never done him any ill ; on the contrary, I would 
have given my blood for the good of his diocese. 

As this was done without our participation, unhesi- 
tatingly we believed it was the will of God, and perhaps a 
means that he wished to use to withdraw us from disgrace 
and persecution, seeing that I was hunted away on the 
one side and sought for on the other ; so that it was settled 
I should go to Turin, and that Father La Combe should 
escort me, and go thence to Verceil. I took in addition, 
in order to do things with perfect propriety, and deprive 
our enemies of all subject for talk, a monk, a man of 
merit, who for fourteen years was teaching theology. 
I further took with me a boy I had brought from France, 
who had learned the trade of tailor. They hired horses, 
and I had a litter for my daughter, my maid, and 
myself. But all these precautions are useless when it is 
God's pleasure to crucify. Our adversaries wrote at once 
to Paris, and they invented a hundred ridiculous stories — 
pure fictions, and utterly false — about this journey. It was 
Father La Mothe who set all that going — perhaps he 
believed it true ; even had it been so, out of charity he 
should have concealed it, but, being as false as it was, he 
was still more l)ound to do this. They said that I had gone 


alone with Father La Combe, running from province to 
province, and a thousand malicious fables. We suffered 
all in patience without justifying ourselves or complaining. 
If things were looked at without passion, could I have done 
better under the circumstances ? and was it not honourable, 
and even advantageous, according to all rules of propriety, 
to be in the house with a lady of that rank and merit ? 
Was it not enough to cut short slander ? and when one is 
irregular, does one select houses of that character ? But 
passion has no eyes, and calumny is a torrent which 
carries away everything. Hardly had we arrived at Turin 
when the Bishop of Geneva wrote against us. He perse- 
cuted us by his letters, being unable to do it any other 

Father La Combe went to Verceil, and I remained at 
Turin, in the house of the Marquise de Prunai. What 
crosses had I not to endure from my family, the Bishop of 
Geneva, the Bernabites, and numberless persons? My 
elder son came to see me on the subject of my mother- 
in-law's death, which was a very serious addition to 
my crosses ; but after we had heard all his reasons — 
seeing without me they had sold all the movables, elected 
guardians, and settled everything independently of me — I 
was quite useless. It was not thought well for me to return, 
owing to the severity of the season. You alone, my God, 
know what I suffered ; for you did not make me know your 
will, and Father La Combe said he had no light to guide 
me. You know, my Lord, what this dependence has made 
me suffer ; for he, who to every one else was gentle, often 
had for me an extreme hardness. You were the author of 
all this, my God; and you willed that he should so 
behave in order that I might remain without consolation ; 
for those who applied to him he advised very correctly; 
but when it was a question of deciding me on any matter, 
he could not, telling me he had no light to guide me, that 
I must do what I could. The more he said these things to 


me the more I felt myself dependent on him, and unable to 
decide. "We have been a real cross, the one to the other ; 
we have truly experienced that our union was in faith and 
in crosSy for the more we were crucified, the more were 
we united. It is fancied that our union was natural and 
human : you know, my God, that we both found in it 
only cross, death, and destruction. How often did we say 
that if the union had been natural, we should not have 
preserved it a moment amidst so many crosses. I avow 
that the crosses which have come to me from this quarter 
have been the greatest of my life. You know the purity, 
the innocence, and the integrity of that union, and how it 
was all founded on you yourself ; as you had the goodness 
to assure me. My dependence became greater every day ; 
for I was like a little child who neither can nor knows how 
to do anything. When Father La Combe was where I was 
(which was seldom, since my departure from the Ursulines), 
I could not exist long without seeing him, as well owing to 
the strange ills which overwhelmed me suddenly, and 
reduced me to the point of death, as owing to my state of 
childhood. When he was absent, I was not troubled at it, 
and I had no need. I did not even think of him, and I 
had not the slightest desire to see him, for my need was 
not in my will, nor in my choice, nor even in any leaning 
to him or inclination ; but you were the author of it, and 
as you were not contrary to yourself, you gave me no need 
of him when you took him away from me. 

At the commencement of my stay at Turin, Father La 
Combe remained there some time waiting for a letter from 
the Bishop of Verccil ; and he availed of the opportunity 
to pay a visit to his intimate friend the Bishop of Aosta, 
who was acquainted with my family. As he knew the 
bitter persecution which the Bishop of Geneva set on foot 
against us through the Court at Turin, he made me an 
offer to go into his diocese, and he sent me the kindest 
letters possible by Father La Combe. He wrote that 


previous to his acquaintance with St. Paulina, St. Jerome 
was a saint ; but how was he spoken of afterwards ? He 
wished me thereby to understand how Father La Combe 
had always passed for a saint before that persecution that 
I had innocently brought on him. At the same time he 
showed me that he preserved a very great esteem for him. 
He even desired, as he was very old, to give up the 
Bishopric in his favour. The Marquise de Prunai, who 
had so much wished for me, seeing the great crosses and 
the abjectness of my state, became disgusted with me : my 
childHke simplicity, which was the state God then kept me 
in, seemed to her mind stupidity, although in that state 
our Lord made me utter oracles ; for when it was a 
question of helping any one, or of anything our Lord 
wished of me, with the weakness of a child, which appeared 
only in the candom*, he gave me a divine strength. Her 
heart remained closed for me all the time I was there. 
Our Lord, however, made me tell what would happen to 
them, and which, in fact, has happened, not only to her, 
but also to her daughter and the virtuous ecclesiastic who 
lived with her. She, nevertheless, towards the end, took 
to me with more friendship, and she saw that our Lord 
was in me. But it was the self-love and the fear of abject- 
ness (seeing me so decried), which had shut her heart. 
Besides, she believed her state more advanced than it was, 
owing to the time she was without trials ; yet she soon 
saw by experience that I had told her the truth. She was 
obliged for family reasons to quit Turin, and go to her 
estate. She strongly urged me to go with her, but the 
education of my daughter did not permit me. It was out 
of the question to remain at Turin without the Marquise 
de Prunai, and the rather, as having lived very retired in 
that place, I had made no acquaintances. I knew not 
what to do. Father La Combe, as I said, lived at Verceil. 
The Bishop of Verceil had written to me most kindly, 
strongly urging me to go to Verceil and live near him, 

44 MADAME GUYON. [Part U. 

promising me his protection and assuring me of his esteem, 
adding that he would look upon me as his own sister, that 
from the account he had received of me he extremely 
desired to have me. 

It was his sister, a nun of the Visitation at Turin, a 
great friend of mine, who had written to him about me ; 
also a French gentleman he knew. But a certain point of 
honour prevented me. I did not wish that any one could 
say that I had been running after Father La Combe, and 
that it was with a view to going there I had come to Turin. 
His reputation was also at stake, which would not allow 
him to consent to my going there, however strongly the 
Bishop of Verceil urged it. If, however, he and I had 
believed it was the will of God, we would have got over 
all other considerations. God kept us both in such a de- 
pendence on his orders that he did not let us know them ; 
but the divine moment determined everything. This served 
much to annihilate Father La Combe, who had very long 
walked by certainties. God in his goodness deprived him 
of them all, for he willed him to die without reserve. 

During all the time I was at Turin our Lord showed 
me very great favours, and I found myself every day more 
transformed into him, and I had still greater knowledge of 
the state of souls, without being mistaken, or deceiving 
myself therein, however they might try to persuade me of 
the contrary, and though I might myself have used all my 
efforts to entertain other thoughts ; which has cost me not 
a little. For when I told Father La Combe, or wrote to him 
the state of some souls, which appeared to him more perfect 
and more advanced than what I was given to know of them, 
he attributed it to pride, got very indignant against me, 
and even conceived a repugnance to my state. My grief 
was not because he esteemed me less — by no means ; for 
I was not even in a state to reflect whether he esteemed 
me or not — but it was that our Lord did not allow me 
to change my thoughts, and he obliged me to tell them 


to him. He could not reconcile — God so permitting it in 
order to destroy him more thoroughly, and take from him 
every support — he could not, I say, reconcile a miraculous 
obedience in a thousand things and a firmness which 
seemed to him then extraordinary, and even criminal in 
certain things. This made him even distrustful of my 
grace : for he was not yet established in his way, and did 
not enough understand that it in no way depended on me, 
the being of one manner or the other ; and that if I had 
had any power, I would have reconciled myself to what he 
said, in order to spare myself the crosses which it caused 
me ; or at least would have cleverly dissimulated. But I 
could do neither the one nor the other ; and though every- 
thing should perish, I had to tell him matters as our Lord 
made me tell them. God has given me in this an 
inviolable fidelity to the end, without the crosses and 
griefs having made me for one moment fail in this fidelity. 
These things, then, which seemed obstinacy to him for 
want of light, and which God so permitted to deprive 
him of the support he would have found in the grace 
that was in me, set him in division from me ; and 
although he told me nothing of it, and, on the contrary, 
tried with all his power to conceal it, however distant from 
me he might be, I could not be ignorant ; for our 
Lord made me feel it in a strange way, as if I had 
been divided from myself. This I felt with more or less 
pain, according as the division was more or less strong ; 
but as soon as it diminished or ended, my pain ceased, 
and I was set at large, and this at however great a 
distance I might be from him. On his side he experienced 
that when he was divided from me he was also from God, 
and many times he has said and written to me : '* When I 
am well with God, I am well with you, and as soon as I am 
ill with God, I am ill with you." These were his own 
words. He experienced that when God received him into 
his bosom, it was in uniting him with me, as if he did not 


want him except in this union. And our Lord made me 
very heavily pay for all his infidelities. 

While he was at Turin a widow came to him to con- 
fession. She is a good servant of God, but all in illumina- 
tion and sensibility. As she was in a state of sensibility she 
told him wonders. The Father was delighted, for he felt 
the sensible of her grace. I was at the other side of the 
confessional. After I had waited a long time, he said one 
or two words to me ; then he sent me away, saying he had 
just found a soul which was devoted to God ; that it was 
truly she who was so ; that he was quite refreshed by her ; 
that it would be a long time before he would find this in 
me ; that I no longer produced anything in his soul but 
death. At first I was glad that he had found such a holy 
soul, for I am always, my Lord, greatly rejoiced to see you 
glorified. I returned home without giving it any more 
attention, but while returning our Lord made me see 
clearly the state of that soul, which was in truth very good, 
but which was only at the commencement, in a mixture of 
affection and a little silence, quite full of the sensible ; 
that it was owing to this the Father felt sympathetically 
her state ; that as for me, in whom our Lord had destroyed 
everything, I was very far from being able to communicate 
to him the sensible. Moreover, our Lord made me under- 
stand that, being in him, as I was, without anything of my 
own, he communicated to Father La Combe through me 
only what he communicated to him directly himself, which 
was death, nakedness, a stripping of everything ; and that 
anything else would make him live his self-life and hinder 
his death ; that if he stopped at sentiment, it would be 
hurtful to his interior. I had to write :ill this to him. On 
receiving my letter, he remarked in it at first a character 
of truth, but reflection having succeeded, he judged all I 
told him to be only pride, and this caused him some 
estrangement from me ; for he had still in his mind the 
ordinary rules of humility, conceived and understood in our 


manner, and did not see that there could be no other rule 
for me but to do the will of my God. I thought no longer 
of humility nor of pride, but I let myself be led as a child 
who says and does without distinction all he is made to 
say or do. I easily understand that all persons who are 
not entered into self-annihilation will accuse me of pride in 
this, but in my state I cannot give it a thought. I allow 
myself to be led where I am led, high or low ; all is for me 
equally good. 

He wrote to me that at first he had found in my letter 
something which seemed to him true, and that he entered 
into it, but after having re-read it with attention he had 
found it full of pride, obstinacy, and a preference of my 
lights to others. I could not give a thought to all this, to 
find it in myself, nor, as formerly, to convince myself, 
believing it though I did not see it. That was no longer 
for me ; I could not reflect on it. If he had thought, he 
might have seen that a person who has neither will nor 
inclination for anything, is far removed from obstinacy, 
and he would have therein recognized God. But our 
Lord did not then permit him. I wrote again to him 
to prove the truth of what I had advanced ; but this only 
served to confirm him in the unfavourable sentiments 
he had conceived of me. He entered into division. I 
knew the moment he had opened my letter, and had 
entered into it, and I was thrown into my ordinary suffer- 
ing. When the maid who went to him with that letter 
(and who was the same I have spoken of, whom our Lord 
had brought to me) had returned, I told her, and she said 
it was precisely at that hour he had read my letter. 
Our Lord did not give me any thought of writing to him 
again on this subject ; but the following Sunday, when I 
went to confess, and was on my knees, he at once asked me 
if I still persisted in my sentiments of pride, and if I still 
believed the same thing. Up to this I had not made any 
reflection either upon what I had thought or what I had 


written to him; but at this moment having done so, it 
appeared to me pride, as he told me. I answered, "It is 
true, my Father, that I am proud, and that person is more 
devoted to God than I." As soon as I had pronounced 
these words, I was cast out as if from Paradise to the 
depth of Hell. I have never suffered such torment ; I was 
beside myself. My face changed suddenly, and I was like 
a person about to expire, whose reason is gone. I sank 
back. The Father at once perceived it, and was at the 
moment enlightened as to the little power I had in these 
things, and how I was obliged to say and do without 
discernment what the Master made me do. He said to me 
at once, "Believe what you before believed. I order you." 
As soon as he said this to me I commenced gradually to 
breathe and to come to life ; in proportion as he entered 
into what I had said to him my soul recovered her freedom, 
and I said as I turned away, ** Let no one speak to me 
again of humility. The ideas people have of the virtues are 
not for me ; there is but one single thing for me, which is 
to obey my God." A little time after, from her manner of 
acting, he recognized that that person was very far from 
what he had thought. I relate a single example, but I 
could give many similar. 



One night our Lord made me see in a dream that he wished 
also to purify the maid he had given me, and to make her 
truly enter upon the death of Self, but that it was necessary 
this also should be done through me, and by means of 
suffering. I, therefore, had to make up my mind to suffer 
for her what I suffered for Father La Combe, although in 
a different manner. She has made me suffer inconceivable 
torments. As she resisted God much more than he, and 
the selfhood was far stronger in her, she had more to 
purify; so that I had to suffer martyrdoms that I could not 
make conceivable should I tell them : but it is impossible 
for me. What augmented my trouble was that Father La 
Combe never understood this as long as it lasted, always 
attributing it to defect and imperfection on my part. I 
bore this torment for that girl three entire years. When 
the resistances were strongest, and the Father approved 
her, without my knowing it, I entered into torments I can- 
not tell. I fell sick from it, so I was almost continually 
ill. Sometimes I passed whole days upon the ground, 
supported against the bedstead, without being able to stir, 
and suffering torments so excessive that had I been upon 
the rack I think I should not have felt it, so terrible was 
the internal pain. When that girl resisted God more 
strongly, and came near me, she burned me ; and when 
she touched me I felt so strange a pain that material fire 

VO L. II. E 


would have been only its shadow. Ordinarily I allowed 
myself to burn with inconceivable violence ; at other times 
I asked her to withdraw, because I could not any longer 
support the pain. She sometimes took this for aversion, 
and told Father La Combe, who was angry at it, and 
reproved me. However, when herself, she could not judge 
altogether in that manner, for our Lord made me con- 
stantly perform miracles for her. I had absolute power 
over her soul and her body. However ill she was, as soon 
as I told her to be cured, she was so ; and as to the interior, 
as soon as I said to her, " Be at peace," she was so ; and 
when I had a movement to deliver her to pain, and I 
delivered her to it, she entered into an inconceivable pain ; 
but almost all her pain it was I bore, with inexpressible 

my God, it seems to me you have made me under- 
stand by my own experience something of what you have 
suffered for men ; and it seemed to me, by what I suffered, 
that a part of what you have suffered for men would have 
consumed ten thousand worlds. It needed no less than the 
strength of a God to bear that torment without being 
annihilated. Once, when I was ill, and this girl was in her 
resistances and her selfhood, she approached me. I felt 
so violent a fire that I could not, it seemed to me, bear it 
without dying. This fire, it appears to me, is the same as 
that of purgatory. I told her to withdraw, owing to what 
I suffered. As she thought it was only opposition to her, 
she persisted, out of friendliness, in remaining. She took 
me by the arms. The violence of the pain was so excessive, 
that without paying any attention to what I did, being 
altogether beside myself from the excess of pain, I bit my 
arm with such force that I almost took out the piece. She 
saw the blood and the wound I had caused myself before 
perceiving the manner. This made her understand that 
there was something extraordinary in it. She informed the 
Father, as he was then at Turin, and for some time he had 


not come to see me, because he was in division and in 
trouble. He was much surprised at the hurt I had caused 
myself : he could not understand what caused me to suffer ; 
and I had difficulty to explain myself to him, and make 
him know it. In the evening she wished to approach me. 
I commanded the pain which I suffered for her to seize 
upon her. At once she entered into so strange a pain that 
she believed she was about to die, and I was delivered from 
it for the moment ; but as she could not bear it, I took it 
back away from her, leaving her in peace. 

Our Lord made me see in a dream the resistances she 
would make to me under the figure of numerous animals 
which issued from her body, and he made me feel the pain 
of that purification, as if when the animals were drawn 
out I was burned with a red-hot iron on the right shoulder. 
Those animals appeared to me transparent, so that the 
outside looked pure and clear as a glass, and the inside full 
of unclean animals ; and I was given to know that she had 
passed through the first purification, which is that of the 
exterior, and for this reason she had been held a saint in 
the world ; but she had not yet been purified radically, and 
so far from it, the exterior purification had, as it were, 
fortified her self-love, and rendered the selfhood more 
dominant in the central depth of her being. I saw 
that in proportion as I suffered, those animals destroyed 
one another ; so that at last only one remained, 
who devoured all the others. He appeared to have in 
himself all the malice of the others, and he struggled 
against me in a surprising manner. 

It should be known that as soon as this was shown me, 
and it was given me to suffer for her, she exteriorly entered 
into a state which might have passed for madness. She 
was no longer fit to render me any service ; in continual 
anger, everything offended her without rhyme or reason — 
jealousy of everybody, and a thousand other defects. 
Although she exercised me enough for the exterior, all this 


gave me no trouble ; it was only that extreme pain which 
made me suffer. She became frightfully awkward, break- 
ing and destroying everything, not being able to endure 
any one. All who saw me served in this way, pitied me, 
for she had the disgrace that, whatever eagerness she had 
to do well, she did everything ill ; our Lord so permitting 
it. If I was ill in a sweat or a shivering fit, she, without 
thinking, threw pots of water over me ; if any one, or she 
herself, had prepared anything, hoping to give me an 
appetite, she threw it in the cinders; if I had anything 
useful, she broke or lost it ; and I never said anything to 
her, although things went so far that there was reason to 
think my income would not suffice for the half year. She 
was greatly distressed because I never said anything to her 
about what concerned me; for her affection for me was 
such that she was more grieved at this than at other faults 
which did not affect me, while for me it was the contrary. 
I had not the shadow of trouble from this. What I could 
not suffer in her was the self-love and the selfhood. I 
strongly reproved her for it, and I said to her, "All which 
concerns me gives me no trouble, but I feel such a terrible 
opposition for your self-love and selfhood, I could not have 
greater for the Devil." I saw clearly that the Devil could 
not hurt us, but for our self-love and selfhood ; and I had 
more aversion and more horror for that self-love and that 
selfhood than for all the devils. At the beginning I was 
pained at the opposition I had for this girl, whom I other- 
wise so loved, that it seemed to me I would rather have 
sent away my own children than get rid of her. Father 
La Combo, not understanding this, reproved me, and made 
me suffer much. However, it was not in me from myself, 
but from God; and when the Father supported her, it 
made mo suffer doubly, for I suffered from the infidelity of 
the one and the selfhood of the other. Our Lord made me 
understand that this was not a defect in me, as I persuaded 
myself; that it was because he gave me the discernment 


of spirits, and my central depth would reject, or accept, 
that which was of him, or was not. 

Since that time, although I have not borne the purifica- 
tion of other souls, as in her case, I nevertheless recognize 
them not by any light, nor by what they tell me, but by 
the central depth. It is well to say here that one must not 
mistake ; and souls which are still in themselves, whatever 
degree of light and ardour they may have arrived at, should 
not apply this to themselves. They often think they have 
this discernment, and it is nothing but the antipathy of 
nature. It has been seen that our Lord (as I have told) had 
previously destroyed in me all sorts of natural antipathy. 
It is necessary that the central depth be annihilated— 
that it depend on God alone, and that the soul no longer 
possess herself, for these things to be from God. This 
lasted three years. 

In proportion as this soul was purified the pain 
diminished, until our Lord made me know that her state 
was about to change, and that he would have the good- 
ness to harmonize her to me. So it suddenly changed. 
Although I suffered such strange torments for the persons 
our Lord desired to purify, I did not feel all the perse- 
cutions from without ; and yet they were very violent. 
The Bishop of Geneva wrote to different kinds of persons : 
to those who he thought would show his letters to me 
he spoke well of me, and in the letters which he thought I 
should not see he wrote much evil. Our Lord permitted 
that those persons, having mutually shown each other the 
letters, were indignant at a procedure so contrary to good 
faith. They sent them to me, that I might be on my 
guard. I kept them for more than two years; then I 
burned them, in order not to do harm to that prelate. 
The strongest battery was that he opened through one of 
the Ministers, co- Secretary of State, with the brother of 
the Marquise de Prunai. Moreover, he took all the trouble 
imaginable to render me an object of suspicion, and to decry 


me. For this he used certain Abbes ; and although I did 
not go out, and did not show myself, I was well-known from 
the unflattering portrait the Bishop made of me. It did not 
make as much impression as it would have done had he stood 
better with the Court ; but certain letters, which Madame 
Eoyale found after the death of the Prince, which he had 
written him against her, made her for her part attach no 
weight to what the Bishop of Geneva wrote ; on the con- 
trary, she sent me friendly messages, and invited me to go 
and see her. I went to pay my respects ; she assured me 
of her protection, and that she was very glad I was in her 

Our Lord made me know in a dream that he called me 
to aid my neighbour. Of all the mysterious dreams I have 
had, there is none made more impression than this, or the 
unction of which has lasted longer. It seemed to me that, 
being with one of my friends, we were ascending a great 
mountain, at the bottom of which was a stormy sea, full 
of rocks, which had to be crossed before coming to the 
mountain. This mountain was quite covered with cypresses. 
When we had ascended it, we found at its top another 
mountain, surrounded with hedges, that had a locked door. 
"We knocked at it ; but my companion went down again, or 
remained at the door, for she did not enter with me. The 
Master came to open the door, which was immediately 
again shut. The Master was no other than the Bridegroom, 
who, having taken me by the hand, led me into the wood 
of cedars. This mountain was called Mount Lebanon. In 
the wood was a room where the Bridegroom led me, and in 
the room two beds. I asked him for whom were those two 
beds. He answered me. There is one for my mother, and 
the other for you, my Bride. In this room there were 
animals fierce by nature, and hostile, who lived together 
in a wonderful manner — the cat played with the bird, and 
there were pheasants that came to caress me ; the wolf and 
the lamb lived together. I remembered that prophecy of 


Isaiah, and the room that is spoken of in Canticles. 
Innocence and candour breathed from the whole place. I 
perceived in this room a boy of about twelve years of age. 
The Bridegroom said to him to go and see if there were any 
persons coming home from the shipwreck. His only duty 
was to go to the bottom of the mountain to discover if he 
could see any one. The Bridegroom, turning to me, said, 
** I have chosen you, my Bride, to bring here to you all 
who shall have courage enough to pass this terrible sea, 
and to be there shipwrecked." The boy came to say he did 
not see any one yet returned from the shipwreck. On that 
I woke up so penetrated by this dream that its unction 
remained with me many days. 

My interior state was continually more firm and 
immovable, and my mind so clear, that neither distraction 
nor thought entered it, save those it pleased our Lord to 
put there. My prayer, still the same — not a prayer which 
is in me, but in God — very simple, very pm'e, and very 
unalloyed. It is a state, not a prayer, of which I can 
tell nothing, owing to its great purity. I do not think 
there is anything in the world more simple and more 
single. It is a state of which nothing can be said, because 
it passes all expression — a state where the creature is so 
lost and submerged, that though it be free as to the 
exterior, for the interior it has absolutely nothing. There- 
fore its happiness is unalterable. All is God, and the soul 
no longer perceives anything but God. She has no longer 
any pretence to perfection, any tendency, any partition, 
any union ; all is perfected in unity, but in a manner so 
free, so easy, so natural, that the soul lives in God and 
from God, as easily as the body lives from the air it breathes. 
This state is known of God alone, for the exterior of these 
souls is very common, and these same souls, which are the 
delight of God, and the object of his kindness, are often 
the mark for the scorn of creatures. 



While I was still in Savoy God made use of me to draw 
to his love a monk of merit, but one who did not even 
dream of taking the road to perfection. He sometimes 
accompanied Father La Combe when he used to come to 
assist me in my illness, and the thought occurred to me 
to ask him from our Lord. The evening that I received the 
Extreme Unction he came near my bed. I said to him that 
if our Lord had pity on me after my death, he would feel 
the effects of it. He felt himself internally so touched as to 
weep; he was one of those who were most opposed to Father 
La Combe, and he who, without knowing me, had made out 
the most stories against me. Quite changed, he returned 
home, and could not help wishing to speak to me again, 
being extremely moved because he believed I was about to 
die. He wept so much that the other monks rallied him 
on it. They said to him, ** Can anything be more 
absurd ? A lady of whom only two days ago you said 
a thousand bad things, now that she is about to die, you 
weep for her as if she was your mother ! " Nothing could 
prevent his weeping, nor take away the desire of again 
speaking to me. Our Lord heard his wishes, and I grew 
better. I had time to speak to him. He gave himself to 
God in an admirable manner, although he was advanced in 
age. He changed even as to his natural character, which 
was cunning and insincere, and became simple as a child. 


He could not call me anything but his mother. He also 
acquired confidence in Father La Combe, even making his 
general confession to him. 

People no longer knew him, and he did not know him- 
self. For many years he was thus disposed to me. One 
day he exhibited more confidence and friendship than 
ordinary; having come a considerable distance expressly 
to see me and to open his soul to me, he had had a 
fall from his horse, from which he suffered pain, and had 
a dangerous swelling, that might be attended by serious 
consequences owing to the locality of the hurt. He told 
me he felt great pain, and that he was anxious about 
the consequences of such a dangerous hurt. I said to 
him, "You will never be inconvenienced by it." He 
believed, and was entirely cured, without ever since having 
felt it. As owing to that he showed me more confidence, 
he said to me, like St. Peter — I mean no comparison — 
** Though all the world should renounce you, I will never 
renounce you." As soon as he said this, I had a strong 
movement that he would renounce me and lose hold 
through want of fidelity, and at the same time it seemed 
to me that if he sacrificed himself to it and lost the 
esteem of himself, and of the strength he believed himself 
to have, this would not happen. I said to him, "My 
Father, you will renounce me, assuredly you will do it, and 
you will lose hold." He was vexed with me for this, con- 
tinuing to protest the contrary ; that he was not a child, 
that no one was more firm and constant than he. The 
more he protested, the more I had an inward certainty of 
the contrary. I said to him, " My Father, in the name of 
God I pray you to sacrifice yourself to him, to renounce 
me, and to turn against me for some time, if he permits," 
assuring him that if he did not enter into this disposition 
of sacrifice, he would infallibly do it. He never would 
submit to this, and became very grieved because, as he 
said, I distrusted him. Six months from that he came to 


see me, more affectionate than ever, and said, "You see 
how false a prophetess you are, and that I am very far 
from renouncing you." 

A year after, while I was with Father La Combe, I said 

to him. Father N is certainly changed, for our Lord 

has made me feel it. When he gives me any one specially 
I must always suffer something. my God, how indeed 
true is it that I have brought forth children only with pain ! 
But also, when they became unfaithful I felt that they 
were taken away, and that they were no longer anything 
to me ; but for those whom our Lord did not remove from 
me, who were only wavering or unfaithful for a time, for 
them he made me suffer. I clearly felt that they were 
unfaithful, but they were not removed from me, and I 
knew that in spite of their infidelities, they would one day 
return. When, then, I said to Father La Combe that he 
was changed — and I had told him more than a year before 
that he would change — he said to me that it was my 
imagination. A few days after he received from him a 
letter full of friendship, and he said to me, " See how he is 
changed." While reading the letter I had again a very 
strong certitude that he was changed, and that a remnant 
of respect and shame made him continue to write thus, 
and that he would yet do so for some time. It happened 
exactly ; he continued still for some time forced letters ; 
then he ceased to write; and Father La Combe learned 
that the fear of losing certain friends had changed him. 
There are some for whom our Lord makes me pray, or 
makes me take some steps to aid them, and others for 
whom it is not even given me to write a letter to strengthen 

There was one, who was the most violent man in the 
world, who kept no measure, and was much more of a 
soldier than a monk. As Father La Combe was his 
Superior, and tried to gain him both by his words and his 
example, he could not endure him ; he even broke out in 


great passions against him. When he was saying the Mass 
in the place where I was, I felt, without knowing him, that 
he was not in a good state. One day that I saw him pass 
with the chalice, which he held in his hand to go and say 
Mass, a great tenderness for him seized upon me, and an 
assurance that he was changed. I even knew that he was 
a chosen vessel, whom God had chosen in a special manner. 
I had to write it to Father La Combe, who sent me word 
that this was the falsest idea he had yet seen in me, and 
that he knew no man more ill-disposed than that person ; 
and he regarded what I had said as the most ridiculous 
dream that ever was. He was very much surprised when, 
about four or five o'clock in the evening, this Father went 
to see him in his room, and from the proudest of men, 
appeared the most gentle. He asked pardon for all the 
annoyance he had caused him, and said to him with tears, "I 
am changed, my Father, and I have suffered an utter over- 
throw which I do not understand." He related to him how 
he had seen the Holy Virgin, who had showed him that he 
was in a state of damnation, but that she had prayed for 
him. Father La Combe at once wrote me that what I 
had told him of a certain Father was indeed true, that he 
was changed, but changed in a good way, and that he was 
full of joy at it. I remained all night on the bare ground 
without sleeping a moment, penetrated with the unction of 
God's designs for that soul. Some days after, our Lord 
again made me know the same thing, with much unction, 
and I was again a night without sleeping, quite full of that 
sight. I wrote to him the designs which our Lord had for 
him, and I gave the letter open to Father La Combe to 
give him. He hesitated some time whether he should give 
it, not daring so soon to trust him ; but that Father pass- 
ing by at the moment, he could not prevent himself 
giving it to him. Far from ridiculing it, he was much 
touched, and resolved to give himself to God utterly. He 
has a difficulty in breaking away from all his ties, and 


seems still divided between God and connections which 
seem to him innocent, although God gives him many blows 
to thoroughly subdue him ; but his resistances do not make 
me lose hope of what he will one day do. Before his 
change I saw in a dream a number of very beautiful birds 
that every one was eagerly hunting and desirous of catch- 
ing, and I looked at them all without taking any part in it, 
and without wishing to catch them. I was very much 
astonished to see them all come and give themselves up to 
me, without my making any effort to have them. Among 
all those who gave themselves up to me, and which were 
numerous enough, was one of extraordinary beauty, which 
far surpassed all the others. Everybody was eager to 
catch that one ; after having flown away from all, and 
from me also as well as the others, he gave in, and gave 
himself up to me, when I did not expect it. There was 
one of the others, which, after having come, flew about for 
a long time, sometimes giving himself, sometimes with- 
drawing ; then he gave himself altogether. This last 
appeared to me to be the monk of whom I have spoken. 
Others withdrew altogether. For two nights I had the 
same dream ; but the beautiful bird which had no fellow 
is not unknown to me, although he has not yet come. 
Whether it be before or after my death that he gives 
himself entirely to God, I am assured that it will take 

While I was with the Marquise de Prunai, undecided 
whether I should place my daughter at the Visitation of 
Turin, to go with her, or whether I should take some other 
step, I was much surprised, when I least expected it, to 
see Father La Combe arrive from Verceil, and tell me that 
I must return to Paris without a moment's delay. It was 
evening. lie told me to set out the next morning. I 
confess this unexpected news surprised me, without, how- 
ever, disturbing me in the very least. It was for me a 
double sacrifice, to return to a place where I knew I had 


been so grievously decried, to a family which had nothing 
but scorn for me, and had represented my journey (that 
necessity alone had forced me to make) as a voluntary 
tour caused by the human attachment I had for Father 
La Combe; although it was strictly true that provi- 
dential necessity alone had led me to it. You alone, 
my God, knew how far we were from such sentiments, and 
that we were equally ready never to see each other, should 
it be your will, or to see each other continually should that 
be your will. God, how little do men comprehend these 
things, which you yourself do for your glory, and to be the 
source of an infinity of crosses, that were increasing instead 
of diminishing. Here, then, was I, without answering a 
word, ready to set out together with my daughter and a 
maid-servant, without any person to escort me ; for Father 
La Combe was resolved not to accompany me, even across 
the mountains ; because the Bishop of Geneva had written 
everywhere that I had gone to Turin, running after him. 

But the Father Provincial, who was a man of quality 
of Turin, and who knew the virtue of Father La Combe, 
told him that I must not be allowed to go among those 
mountains, especially as I had my daughter with me, 
without some one I knew, and that he ordered him to 
accompany me. The Father admitted to me that he had 
some repugnance, but his duty of obedience and the danger 
to which I should have been exposed in going alone, made 
him get over his objections. He was to accompany me as 
far as Grenoble, and thence return to Turin. I set out 
then with the intention of going to Paris to suffer all the 
crosses and submit to all the confusion it might please God 
to make me suffer. 

What made me pass by Grenoble was the wish I had to 
spend two or three days with a great servant of God, a 
friend of mine. When I was there, Father La Combe and 
this lady told me to go no further, and that God wished 
to glorify himself in me and through me in that place. 


Father La Combe returned to Verceil, and I let myself be 
led by providence, like a child. This worthy Mother at 
first took me to a widow, not having found room at the inn, 
and I expected to spend only three days there ; but as they 
told me to remain at Grenoble, I remained in her house. 
I placed my daughter in a convent, and resolved to employ 
all this time in giving myself up in solitude to him who is 
absolutely master of me. I made no visit in that place, no 
more than in any of the other places where I had dwelt ; 
but I was very much surprised when, a few days after my 
arrival, many persons came to see me, who made profession 
of being in an especial manner devoted to God. I at once 
became aware of a gift of God, which had been communi- 
cated to me without my understanding it — namely, the 
discernment of spirits, and the giving to each what was 
suitable to him. I felt myself suddenly clothed with an 
Apostolic state, and I discerned the state of the souls of 
the persons who spoke to me, and that with such facility 
that they were astonished, and said one to the other that 
I gave to each that of which he had need. It was you, 
my God, who did all these things. They sent each other 
to me. It reached such a point that ordinarily from six in 
the morning until eight in the evening I was occupied in 
speaking of God. People came from all sides, from far and 
near — monks, priests, men of the world, girls, women, and 
widows — all came, the one after the other, and God gave 
me wherewith to satisfy all in an admirable manner, with- 
out my taking any thought, or paying any attention to it. 
Nothing in their interior state, nor what passed in them, 
was concealed from me. You made, my God, an infinity 
of conquests that you alone know. There was given them 
a surprising facility for prayer, and God gave them great 
graces and worked marvellous changes. I had a miraculous 
authority over the bodies and souls of these persons whom 
our Lord sent to me ; their health and their interior state 
Beemed to be in my hand. The more advanced of those 


souls found near me that, without speech, there was 
communicated to them a grace which they could not 
comprehend, nor cease to wonder at. The others found 
an unction in my words, and that they operated in them 
what I said to them. They had not, said they, ever seen, 
or rather, ever experienced anything similar. I saw monks 
of different orders, and priests of merit, to whom our Lord 
gave very great graces ; and God gave grace to all, with- 
out exception— at least, to all who came in good faith. 

What is surprising is, that I had not a word to say to 
those who came to surprise and to spy on me ; and when I 
wished to force myself to speak to them, besides being 
unable, I felt that God did not desire it. Some went away, 
saying, "People are mad to go and see that lady: she 
cannot speak ; " others treated me as stupid, and I did not 
know those persons had come to spy on me. But when 
they had gone out, some one came and said to me, "I was 
not able to come soon enough to tell you not to speak to 
those persons ; they came from So-and-so to spy on you, 
and to catch you." I said to them, " Our Lord has been 
beforehand with your charity, for I have been unable to 
say a word to them." 

I felt that what I said came from the fountain-head, 
and that I was merely the instrument of him who made 
me speak. In the midst of this general applause our Lord 
made me understand what was the Apostolic state with 
which he had honoured me, and that to be willing to give 
one's self up to aid souls in the purity of his Spirit, was to 
expose one's self to cruel persecutions. These very words 
were impressed upon me : "To sacrifice yourself to aid your 
neighbour is to sacrifice yourself to the gibbet. Those 
who now say of thee, ' Blessed be he who cometh in the 
name of the Lord,' will soon say, * Take away ; crucify.' " 
One of my friends speaking of the general esteem in which 
I was held, I said to her, ** Notice what I say to you this 
day, that you will hear curses proceed from the same 


mouths which are giving blessings ; " and our Lord made 
me understand that it was necessary for me to be con- 
formable to him in all states, and that if he had always 
remained with the Holy Virgin and St. Joseph in an 
obscure life, he would never have been crucified ; and when 
he wished to crucify any of his servants in an extraordinary 
manner, he employed him in the service of his neighbour. 
It is certain that all the souls who are thus employed by 
God by an Apostolic destination, and who are truly placed 
in the Apostolic state, have to suffer extremely. I do not 
speak of those who intrude themselves into it, and who, 
not being called there by God in a special manner, and 
having nothing of the grace of the Apostolate, have also 
nothing of the crosses of the Apostolate ; but for those who 
give themselves up to God without any reserve, and who 
are willing with all their heart to be the plaything of pro- 
vidence without restriction or reserve — ah, as for those, 
they are assuredly a spectacle for God, for angels and for 
men : for God, of glory, by the conformity with Jesus 
Christ ; for angels, of joy ; and for men, of cruelty and 



Before I came to Grenoble, on the road, I went into a 
convent of the nuns of the Visitation. Suddenly I was 
struck by a picture of Jesus Christ in the garden, with 
these words : *' Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass ; 
however, your will be done." At once I understood that 
this was addressed to me, and I sacrificed myself to the 
will of God. There I experienced a very extraordinary 
thing ; it is, that among so great a number of souls all 
good and with grace, and for whom our Lord, through me, 
did much, some were given me as simple plants to culti- 
vate, in whom I did not feel our Lord desired me to take 
any interest. I knew their state ; but I did not feel in 
myself that absolute authority, and they did not in especial 
manner belong to me. Here I understood better the true 
maternity. The others were given to me as children, and 
for these I always had something to pay, and I had 
authority over their souls and their bodies. Of these 
children some were faithful, and I knew they would be so, 
and they were united with me in charity. Others were 
unfaithful, and I knew that of these last some would 
never recover from their faithlessness, and they were taken 
away from me ; as for others, that it would be merely a 
temporary straying. For both the one and the other I 
suffered heart-pains that are inconceivable, as if they were 



hc'ing drawn out of my heart. These are not those heart- 
pains which are called failure or faintness of the heart. It 
was a violent pain in the region of the heart, which was 
yet spiritual, hut so violent that it made me cry out with 
all my strength, and reduced me to my bed. In this state 
I could not take food, but I had to allow myself to be 
devoured by a strange pain. When these same children 
left me, and by cowardice, lack of courage to die to them- 
selves, they gave up everything, they were torn from my 
heart with much pain. 

It was then I understood that all the predestinated 
came forth from the heart of Jesus Christ, and that he 
gave birth to them on Calvary in pangs that are incon- 
ceivable, and it was for this reason he wished his heart to 
be opened externally, to show that there was the fountain 
whence came forth all the predestinated. heart which has 
brought me forth, it will be in thee we shall be received for 
ever ! Our Lord, amongst so many who followed him, had 
so few true children. It is for that reason he said to his 
Father, " I have lost none of those whom thou hast given 
me, except the son of perdition," making us thereby see 
that he did not lose, not only any of the Apostles, although 
they made so many false steps, but even of those whom he 
was about to bring forth on Calvary by the opening of his 
heart. my Love, I can say that you have made me a 
participator in all your mysteries, making me experience 
them in an ineffable manner. I was then associated in 
this divine maternity in Jesus Christ, and it has been that 
which caused me most suffering ; for two hours of this 
suffering changed me more than several days' continued 
fever. I have sometimes so borne these pains as for two or 
three days to cry out with all my strength, " The heart ! " 
The maid who attended me saw that the ailment was not 
natural, but she did not know what caused it. If we could 
understand the least of the pangs we have cost Jesus Christ, 
we should be in amazement. 


Amongst the various monks who came to sec me, there 
was one order which felt more than any other the effects 
of grace ; and it was some members of this very order who 
had been to a small town where Father La Combe had held 
a mission, and by a false zeal troubled all the worthy souls 
who had given themselves sincerely to God, tormenting 
them inconceivably, burning all their books which spoke of 
prayer, refusing absolution to those who used it, throwing 
into consternation, and even despair, those who had with- 
drawn from a criminal life and preserved themselves in 
grace by means of prayer, and lived in a perfect manner. 
Those monks proceeded to such excess in their indiscreet 
zeal that they caused a sedition in the town, and in the 
open street they had a respectable and meritorious Father 
of the Oratory beaten with sticks, because he used prayer 
at evening, and on Sundays made a short and fervent 
prayer, which insensibly accustomed those good souls to 
use prayer. 

I have never in my life had so much consolation 
as in seeing in that little town so many good souls who 
vied with each other in giving themselves to God with their 
whole heart. There were young girls of twelve and thirteen 
years of age, who worked all day in silence in order to 
converse with God, and who had acquired a great habit of 
it. As they were poor girls, they joined in couples; and 
those who knew how to read, read out something to those 
who could not read. It was a revival of the innocence of 
the early Christians. There was a poor washerwoman, 
who had five children and a husband paralysed in the right 
arm, but more halt in his spirit than in his body : he had 
no strength except to beat her. Nevertheless, this poor 
woman, with the sweetness of an angel, endured it all, and 
gained subsistence for that man and her five children. 
This woman had a wonderful gift of prayer, preserving the 
presence of God and equanimity in the greatest miseries 
and the most extreme poverty. There was also the wife 


of a shopkeeper greatly influenced by God, and the wife 
of a locksmith. They were three friends. Both of them 
sometimes read for that washerwoman, and they were 
sm'prised how she was instructed by our Lord in all they 
read for her, and how she spoke of it divinely. These 
monks sent for this woman, and threatened her if she would 
not give up prayer, saying it was only for monks, and that 
she was very audacious to use prayer. She answered them — 
or, rather, he who taught her, for she was in herself very 
ignorant — that our Lord had told all to pray ; and that he 
had said, " I say unto you all," not specifying either priests 
or monks ; that without prayer she could never support the 
crosses, nor the poverty she was in ; that she had formerly 
been without prayer, and she was a demon ; and that since 
she used it, she had loved God with all her heart ; and 
therefore to give up prayer was to renounce her salvation, 
which she never could do. She added, let them take 
twenty persons who have never used prayer, and twenty of 
of those who use it; then, said she, make yourselves 
acquainted with their lives, and you will see if you have 
reason in condemning prayer. Such words as those from 
a woman of that condition ought to have convinced them ; 
they only served to embitter them. They assured her she 
should not have absolution unless she promised to give up 
prayer. She said it did not depend on her, and that our 
Lord was the Master to comniunicate himself to his 
creature, and to do what pleased him. They refused her 
absolution ; and after having gone so far as to abuse a 
worthy tailor, who served God with all his heart, they had 
brought to them all the books which treated of prayer, 
without any exception, and themselves burned them in the 
public place. They were greatly puffed up with their 
expedition; but the town rose up because of the blows 
given to the Father of the Oratory ; and the principal men 
went to the Bishop of Geneva, to tell him the scandal 
created by these new missionaries, so different from the 


others, alluding to Father La Combe, who had on another 
occasion been there on a mission ; and it was said that the 
only object of sending these last was to destroy the work 
he had done. The Bishop of Geneva was obliged himself 
to come to that town, and to get into the pulpit, protesting 
that he had no part in it — that the Fathers had pushed 
their zeal too far. The monks, on the other hand, said 
that they had done everything under orders. There were 
also at Tonon girls who had withdrawn together into 
retirement ; they were poor village girls, who, in order the 
better to gain their subsistence and serve God, had several 
in number joined together. There was one who read from 
time to time, while the others worked; and they never 
went out without asking leave to go out from the senior. 
They made ribbons ; they spun and gained a livelihood, 
each in her own trade : the strong supported the weak. 
These poor girls were separated, and others also, and dis- 
persed among several villages ; they drove them away from 
the Church. It was, then, monks of this same order of 
whom our Lord made use to establish prayer in I know 
not how many places, and they carried a hundred times 
more books on prayer into the places where they went 
than their brothers had burnt. God appears to me won- 
derful in these things. I had then opportunity of knowing 
these monks in the way which I am about to tell. 

One day that I was ill a friar, who is well versed in 
the treatment of sick persons, came begging, and having 
learnt I was ill, came in. Our Lord made use of him to 
give me the proper remedies for my illness, and permitted 
that we entered into a conversation, which woke up in him 
the love which he had for God, and which was, according 
to him, stifled by his important occupations. I made him 
understand that there is no occupation which could hinder 
him from loving God, or thinking of him. He had no 
trouble in believing me, having already much piety and 
disposition for spiritual religion. Our Lord showed him 


great grace, and gave him to me as one of my true children. 
What is admirable is, that all those whom our Lord has 
given me in this way, I felt that he accepted them in me to 
be my children ; for it is he who accepts them, and who 
gives them. I only bring them forth upon the cross, as he 
has brought forth all the predestinated on the cross ; and 
it is further in this sense that he makes me " fill up what 
remains wanting of his passion," which is the application 
of the divine filiation. O goodness of a God, to associate 
poor petty creatures in such great mysteries ! 

When our Lord gives me some children of this kind, he 
gives them, without my having ever exhibited anything of 
this, very great inclination for me ; and without themselves 
knowing why or how, they cannot help calling me their 
mother — a thing which has happened to many persons 
of merit, priests, monks, pious girls, and even to an 
ecclesiastical dignitary, who all, without my having ever 
spoken to them, regard me as their mother — and our Lord 
has had the goodness to accept them in me, and to give 
them the same graces as if I was in the habit of seeing 
them. One day a person who was in a very trying state, 
and in manifest danger, without thinking what she did, 
cried aloud, " My mother, my mother ! " thinking of me. 
She was at once delivered, with a fresh certainty that I was 
her mother, and that our Lord would have the goodness to 
succour her in all her needs through me. Many whom I 
knew only by letters, have seen me in dreams answer all 
their difficulties, and those who are more spiritual took 
part in the conversation, or intimate union of unity; but 
these last arc few in number, who at a distance have no 
need for letters nor for discourses to understand; the 
others are interiorly nourished from the grace which our 
Lord abundantly communicates to them through me, 
feeling themselves filled from that outflow of grace. 

For when our Lord honours a soul with spiritual 
fecundity, and associates her in his maternity, he gives her 


what is necessary to nourish and sustain her children 
according to their degree. It is in this way that, willing 
to bring forth all the predestinated, he gives them his flesh 
to eat. It is for this reason those who eat his flesh and 
di-ink his blood dwell in him and he in them, and they 
are thereby made his children ; but those who do not eaj; 
the flesh cannot be his children, because they are not 
associated in the divine filiation, the new bond of which is 
effected in his blood, at least, unless by their conversion at 
death the efficacy of that blood be applied to them. It is 
true that to the holy Anchorites the Word communicated 
himself from the centre, and gave them through the 
central depth the food of angels, which is no other than 
himself as Word, although they may have been unable to 
eat his flesh with the bodily mouth. 

I say, then, that when Jesus Christ associates any one 
in spiritual maternity he provides a means of com- 
municating himself; and it is this communication of pure 
spirit which forms the nourishment and essential support 
of souls, but a sustenance which they taste, and which they 
find by experience to be all they need. I know that I shall 
not be understood, for only experience can make this in- 
telligible. I was sometimes so full of these pure and 
divine communications, which flow out from *' that fountain 
of living water which shall spring up to eternal life," 
mentioned by St. John the Evangelist, that I used to say, 
" Lord, give me hearts on whom I may discharge from 
my abundance, otherwise I must die," for these outflowings 
from the Divinity into the centre of my soul were some- 
times so powerful that they reacted even on the body, so 
that I was ill from it. When some of those whom our 
Lord had given me as children approached, or he gave me 
new ones in whom grace was already strong, I felt myself 
gradually relieved, and they experienced in themselves an 
inconceivable plenitude of grace and a greater gift of 
prayer, which was communicated to them according to 


their degrees ; and it surprised them much at the commence- 
ment, but afterwards by their experience they understood 
this mystery, and they felt a great need of me ; and when 
necessity separated me from them, or — as I have said — I 
was unacquainted with them, from not having seen them, 
things were communicated to them from a distance. 



There were some worthy girls here who were specially 
given to me, in particular one, and over her I had great 
power, both over her soul and her body, to establish her 
health. At the commencement, when this girl came to 
me, she felt a great attraction to come, and our Lord gave 
her through me all she had need of ; but as soon as she 
was at a distance, the Devil excited in her mind a frightful 
aversion to me, so that when it was necessary for her to 
come and see me, it was with repugnance and terrible 
efforts that she did it, and sometimes when half way she 
turned back through faithlessness, not having the courage 
to continue ; but as soon as she was faithful to persist 
she was delivered from her trouble. When she came near 
me it all vanished, and with me she experienced that 
abundance of grace which has been brought to us by Jesus 
Christ. It was a soul greatly influenced by God from her 
chUdhood, to whom our Lord had given much grace, and 
whom he had led with great gentleness. One day she was 
with me I had a movement to tell her she was about to 
enter on a serious trial. She entered on it the next day 
in a very violent manner. The Devil put into her mind 
a terrible aversion to me. She loved me by grace, and 
hated me through the impression, which in a strange 
manner the Devil made on her ; but as soon as she came 
near me he fled, and left her in quiet. He put into her 


mind that I was a sorceress, and that it was by this 
means I drove off the devils, and that I told her what was 
about to happen, in consequence of which things hap- 
pened as I had told them to her. She had a continual 
vomiting, and when I told her not to vomit, and to retain the 
food, she retained it. One day before entering on the trial 
which I shall tell, she came to see me in the morning 
(because it was ray fete), intending to come to Mass with 
me, and to communicate. She could hardly speak to me, 
such was her then aversion for me, and the Devil did 
not wish her to tell it, lest I should drive him off. He 
closed her mouth, and put into her mind that all I said 
or did was by sorcery. As she did not say a word, I knew 
her trouble, and I told it to her. She acknowledged it. 
When I was in the church I said to her : If it is through 
the Devil I act upon you, I give him the power to torment 
you ; but if it is another spirit who possesses me, I will 
that during the Mass you participate in that spirit. The 
little time we were there before they commenced the Mass, 
the Devil made use of his interval, and more forcibly im- 
pressed on her that I was a sorceress, and it was this which 
made me act, and that she saw how she was worse since 
I had said that to her. While she was in the crisis of her 
pain, and an aversion to me that amounted to rage, the 
Mass commenced. As soon as the priest made the sign 
of the cross, she entered into a heavenly peace, and so 
great a union with God, that she knew not whether she 
was on earth, or in heaven. We communicated in the 
same manner, and she was saying to herself during this 
time, ** Oh, how certain I am it is God who moves and leads 
her ! " After the Mass was over, she said to me, " my 
mother, how have I felt what God is in you ! I have been 
in Paradise." These are her words. Bat as I had only 
said " until after Mass," the Devil came to attack her with 
more rage than before. 

The greatest mischief he did was hindering her from 


telling me her state, for although our Lord made me well 
enough acquainted with it, he yet wished her to tell it to 
me. She was very ill ; she thought she had an abscess, 
and the faints she fell into, joined to a pain of the head, 
made the doctor think so. She believed that when I 
touched the place on her side the abscess broke ; but 
our Lord gave me no knowledge that it was so. I said 
nothing to her about it, and I have not attached faith to it, 
although she tried to persuade me ; but what is certain is 
that our Lord made use of me many times to cure her. 
The Devil attacked her violently, and not being content 
alone, he took as allies a fine gang, and caused her much 
trouble. I drove him away when I had the movement for it, 
or I handed her over as I had done before, according as 
our Lord inspired me ; but always as soon as she approached 
me and kept herself in silence to receive grace, he left 
her in repose. In my absence he thought he would be 
revenged to his full ; as many as sixteen of them came to 
torment her. She wrote it to me. I told her when they 
came to torment her more violently, to threaten them 
that she would write to me. They left her for moments. 

Then I forbade them for a time to approach her, and 
when they presented themselves at a distance she _ said 
to them, ** My mother has told me that you should leave 
me in quiet until she permits it." They did not approach 
her. At last I forbade them once for all, and they left 
her in quiet. She was faithless to God, and practised on 
me evasions and deceptions, which only came from self- 
love. I at once felt it, and that my central depth rejected 
her, not that she ceased for that to be among the number 
of my children ; but it is that our Lord could not endure 
her deception or her duplicity. The more she concealed 
things, the more our Lord made me know them, and the 
more he rejected her from my central depth. 

I saw, or rather, I experienced therein, how God rejects 
the sinner from his bosom, and especially those who act with 


concealment and deceit; that it is not God who rejects 
them, by a volition of rejecting them, or by hatred, but by 
necessity, owing to their sin ; that in God the unchange- 
ableness of love is entire for the sinner, so that as all the 
cause of that rejection is in the sinner, God cannot receive 
him into himself or into his grace until the cause of this 
rejection cease. Now, this cause does not subsist in the 
effect of the sin, but in the will and inclination of the 
sinner; so that as soon as this will and inclination 
ceases on the side of the sinner, however foul and horrible 
he may be, God purifies him by his charity and his love, 
and receives him into his grace ; but as long as there 
remains in the man the will of sin, although from power- 
lessness or lack of opportunity he does not commit the sin 
he wills, it is certain he would be rejected from God, owing 
to this perverse will. It must be understood that the rejec- 
tion does not come from a will in God to reject this sinner, 
" for his will is that all should be saved," and that they 
should be received into him, who is their Origin and their 
End; but the indisposition which the sinner contracts, 
which is entirely opposed to God, and which he cannot, 
God though he be, receive into himself without destroying 
himself, causes a necessary rejection on the part of God of 
that sinner, who returns into his proper place (which is 
no other than God) as soon as the cause of this rejection 
ceases. It is for this reason the Scripture says, " Turn 
unto me, I will return unto you ; " cease to will that sin 
which obliges me, in spite of my love, to reject you, and I 
will return to you, to take you, and draw you to me, far 
from rejecting you. 

"When this sinner is rejected by God, as I have said, 
because the matter of his rejection subsists, he can never 
be admitted into grace until the cause ceases, which is in 
the will to sin. However disorderly and however abomin- 
able the sinner may have been, he ceases to be a sinner as 
soon as he ceases to will to be so : for all rebellion is in 


the -will. This rebellious will causes all the incongruity, and 
hinders God from acting on this sinner ; but as soon as 
the sinner ceases to be rebellious, in ceasing to will sin> 
God by an infinite goodness incessantly works to purify 
him from the filth and the consequences of the sin, in 
order to make him fit to be received into himself. If all 
the life of this sinner pass in falling and getting up again, 
all the operation of God on this same sinner during all his 
life will be to purify him from the fresh stains which he 
contracts, and nothing will be done for his perfection. 
But if this sinner dies during the time that his will is 
rebellious, and turned towards sin, as death fixes for ever 
the disposition of the soul, and the cause of his impurity 
is still subsisting, this soul can never be purified by the 
charity of God, and can consequently never be received 
into him ; so that his rejection is eternal. And this re- 
jection is the pain of damnation, for this soul necessarily 
tends to her Centre, owing to her nature, and is continually 
rejected from it, owing to her impurity subsisting in the 
cause, and not merely in the effect. For if it subsisted 
only in the effect, as I shall immediately tell, it would be 
purified ; but her sin being still subsisting in the cause, 
which is the rebellious will, it is utterly impossible for 
God to purify the sinner after his death ; because he can 
only purify the effect and not the cause, as long as it 
subsists. Now, as it is rendered subsisting and immortal 
by the death of the sinner, it is of necessity that the sinner 
should be eternally rejected, owing to the absolute oppo- 
sition there is between essential purity and essential 
impurity. No ; God, all God though he be, cannot admit 
a sinner into his grace as long as his sin subsists in the 
cause, which is rebellion to God, because he cannot ever be 
purified as long as the cause subsists. It is the same 
in this life. But as soon as the cause is removed, and 
no longer subsists, the sin is no longer subsisting, but in 
its effect, and thus this sinner can be purified, and God 


works at this from the moment the cause no longer sub- 
sists, for that cause absolutely hinders God from working, 
the sinner being then in actual revolt. 

But if this sinner dies penitent — that is to say, that the 
cause, which is the will to sin, is removed, and only the 
effect remains, which is the impurity caused by sin — 
however horrible and filthy the sinner may be, he ceases 
to be a sinner, although he does not cease to be filthy. He 
is then in a state to be purified. God, by an infinite charity, 
has provided a bath of love and justice, but a painful bath, 
to purify this soul, and that bath is Purgatory, which is 
not in itself painful, yet is so in the cause of the pain, 
which is impurity. Were this cause removed, which is 
nothing else than sin in its effect, the soul, being quite 
purified, would suffer nothing in that place of love. Now, 
God rejects from his grace the cause of the sin, that is 
the rebellious will, and he rejects from himself the damned 
owing to his impurity, which causes that not only can he 
not be received into God, but he cannot be received into 
his grace, owing to the rebellion of the will, entirely 
opposed to grace. It is not the same with the soul in 
Purgatory, who, having no longer the cause of sin, that 
is, the rebellion, is admitted into the grace of God, but she 
cannot for that be received into God until all impurity, 
the effect of sin, is removed ; so that the pain of damnation 
and of the senses both proceed from her impurity and incon- 
gruity; as soon, however, as all impurity is removed, accord- 
ing as it pleases God to give a degree of glory to this soul, 
then she ceases to be rejected from God, and to suffer. 
There arc, however, souls who die so pure that they do not 
Buffer the pain of the senses, only some retardation. I 
have explained it elsewhere, therefore will not say any- 
thing of it here. 

Now, I say that in this life it is quite the same ; souls 
are received into grace as soon as the cause of sin ceases, 
but they arc not received into God until all effect of sin is 


purified. If one continually defiles himself, or also, if being 
defiled, one has not the courage to allow himself to be 
purified by God as much as he wishes, one never enters 
into God in this life. Those souls who have not the 
courage to allow God to act are not thoroughly purified 
in this life, because these purifications are effected only by 
pain and overthrow, and this it is which makes many holy 
and wonderful souls still need Purgatory ; for it must bo 
linown there are in us two things which need purifying : 
the effect of sin, and the cause of sin. I have said that 
those who die have subsisting in them only that which is 
there at their death. If they die in grace, their will not 
being rebellious, they no longer have the cause of sin, and 
cannot have it, since their will remains fixed in good. It 
is not the same on earth with a man who is not confirmed 
in charity; for, not being in the unmovable, he can 
always change, and his will may rebel until it dies and 
passes into that which renders it immovable. It is, 
therefore, necessary on the earth for God to purify not 
only the impurity and the remains of sin, but also the 
cause in its source, which is that root of sin, that 
leaven, that ferment, which may always give birth to it, 
and render our will rebellious, and consequently make us 
fall from grace, that is, the SELFHOOD. And herein is 
that radical purification of our nature, ever disposed to 
revolt, which God desires to purify in this life, and which 
he effectively purifies in the souls, that he wills not only 
to receive into his grace, but into himself. He purifies 
them not merely from the effect of sin, but from the 
radical cause, from that leaven, from that ferment, which 
always may make the will revolt ; and this is effected only 
by the death of the soul through her annihilation, which 
is attended by extreme pains, and by the loss of all. It is 
for this reason that an extraordinary courage is needed to 
pass into God in this life, and to be annihilated to the 
necessary point, losing all that is *' own.'" Therefore the 


souls truly ** transformed into him," as St. Paul says, 
who are transformed, not merely in grace, but into him- 
self, are more rare than I can tell. 

To return to my subject. I say, this girl was rejected 
from my central depth ; the cause was subsisting in her, 
not in my will. I experienced that she was still held to 
me by a certain bond, as the sinner to his God, which 
renders it possible for him always to be received into him 
in this life, as soon as the cause of the rejection ends. 
God incessantly solicits that will to cease to be rebellious, 
and he spares nothing on his side, but it is free ; yet grace 
never fails, for as soon as the will ceases to rebel, it 
finds grace at its door, quite ready to give itself. Oh, if 
people conceived the goodness of God, and the wickedness 
of the sinner, they would be surprised, and it should make 
us die of love. I felt then how this girl, and many other 
souls, were bound to me by a link of filiation, but I could 
no longer communicate myself to this girl as I did before, 
owing to the want of simplicity, which was not in fleeting 
matters, but in her will to dissemble, and that it was 
impossible for that flow of grace to take place until 
this subsisting voluntary dissimulation was destroyed. I 
said to her what I could, but she dissimulated afresh to 
conceal her dissimulation, so that this caused God to 
reject her still more in me, and she became more opposed 
to me ; not that I ceased to love her, for I knew well that 
I loved her, but it was she who caused her rejection, which 
could be ended only by her. God, how admirable are you, 
to be willing to give petty creatures the knowledge by 
experience of your most profound secrets ! What I ex- 
perienced with this girl I have experienced with many 
souls : I have given this as an example. Father La 
Combe was not yet in a state to discern these things, and 
I could not explain them to him, except by saying that 
this person was artful and dissembling ; but he took it in 
the sense of virtues, with which I had no longer anything 


to do, and he told me I formed rash judgments. I did 
not even understand what was a rash judgment — all that 
was far removed from my mind ; and I remember that once, 
when I was in Piedmont, he wanted to make me confess it. 
I did so because he told me, and thereby suffered in- 
conceivable torments; for our Lord was angry because 
they regarded that in me as a defect, in place of regarding 
it in him, the Supreme Truth, who judges things not as 
man judges, but who sees them as they are. Father La 
Combe made me suffer much in regard to this person ; he 
was, however, himself enlightened, our Lord making him 
see falsities and manifest duplicity. Before my arrival at 
Grenoble, the lady, my friend, saw in a dream that our 
Lord gave me an infinity of children : they were all children 
and small, clothed in the same way, bearing on their dresses 
the marks of their candour and innocence. She thought 
I was coming there to take charge of the children of the 
Hospital, for the meaning was not given to her ; but as 
soon as she related it to me, I understood it was not this ; 
that our Lord by spiritual fecundity meant to give me 
a great number of children, that they would be my true 
children only by simplicity and candour, and that he 
would draw them through me into innocence. Therefore 
there is nothing I have so much opposition to as trickery 
and duplicity. I have wandered far from what I com- 
menced ; but I am not my own mistress. 


82 MADAME GUYON. [Part U* 


This worthy friar of whom I have spoken, and who had 
ah'eady previously received from God sufficient grace to 
dispose him to spiritual views, though for want of help 
and, perhaps, of faithfulness, he had not advanced — this 
good friar, I say, felt himself led to open his heart to me 
like a child. Our Lord gave me all that was necessary for 
him, so that, not being able to doubt the impression of his 
grace, he said to me, without knowing what he was saying, 
" You are my true mother." From that time our Lord 
had the goodness to show him much mercy through this 
petty nothing, and I felt indeed that he was my son, and 
one of the most united and faithful. Whenever he came 
to see me, our Lord showed him fresh mercies, and he 
used to go away full, strengthened, encouraged to die 
really to himself, and certified of the power of God in me, 
which he experienced with his dependence. Our Lord 
gradually taught him to speak in silence, and to receive 
grace without the intervention of words ; but this took 
effect in him only in proportion as he died to himself. 
Our Lord had promised that where several should be 
assembled in his name, he would be in the midst of them. 
It is in this way the promise takes effect very really. As 
he was already far advanced in prayer, and was only 
arrested and retarded, he was soon re-estabhshed. 

In proportion as his soul advanced so as to be able to 


remain in silence before God, and the Word operated in 
him in this silence — which is fruitful and full, not a mere 
indolence, as those who have not experienced it imagine — 
he increased in grace and prayer. immediate speech, 
ineffable speech, who say everything without articulating 
anything, who are the expression of what you say ! He 
who has not experienced you knows nothing, however wise 
he may think himself. It is in you is the source of all 
knowledge, and when you are in plenitude in a soul, what 
is she ignorant of? In proportion, then, as the Word 
communicated himself to him in silence ineffable, it was 
given him in silence to communicate with me, and to re- 
ceive through me in silence the operations of the Divine 
Word — operations which he could not be ignorant of, for 
the plenitude became in him more abundant ; like a sluice 
opened up which profusely discharges itself, and that with 
such force and such grace in well-disposed souls, that a 
river does not run with greater impetuosity. But, alas, 
how few souls there are pure enough for it to pass thus in 
them ! This plenitude which he continually received, 
emptied him more of himself, and put him into a state of 
greater silence before God and profounder death and 
separation from all things. The more he died to every- 
thing, the more he was inclined towards God and towards 
me. my God, I understood so well that it is in this 
manner you communicate yourself profusely to those souls, 
who are entirely yours ; it is in these souls that your 
grace flows as a river, and it is in them that you become 
a " spring of water springing up unto life eternal," and 
that with such abundance that there is enough to fill an 
infinity of hearts, each according to his degree, without 
ceasing to be full. It was that plenitude, great and 
unrivalled, with which the angel saluted the Holy Virgin. 
She was in such perfect plenitude that she flowed out and 
will flow out eternally into all the saints as their Hierarchic 
Queen, and it is in this sense that all the graces which 

84 MADAME GUYON. [Pabt H. 

God gives men pass all through Mary. What abundance 
do not you experience, you who communicate to all, and 
who are the first receptacle, who, overflowing from your 
plenitude, furnish to other souls all that is needed for 

wonderful Hierarchy, which commences in this life 
to continue through all eternity ! Yes, there is a Hierarchy 
among the Saints as among the angels, and those who 
shall have served as a channel in their plenitude to water 
other souls will so serve through all eternity in Hierarchic 

And it is in this sense that the divine Eve is mother 
of all living, since there will be an outflow from her 
plenitude into the souls of all those who will live by grace, 
greater or less, according as the hearts are more disposed, 
more extended and dilated to receive from that plenitude 
and superabundance. It needs a great largeness and 
extent of soul to receive much and enough to give to others. 
Those who are dead through sin receive nothing from this 
plenitude of life, and that is the reason they are dead; 
because all the passages by which life might flow into them 
are stopped ; but for souls living in charity, they all receive 
of that plenitude, more or less according as they are more 
or less disposed by purity and largeness of soul. The good 
friar then received in this way, as well as many others of my 
spiritual children ; for what I say of him, I say of many 
others, but I give him as an example. He was also given 
the means of aiding other souls, not in silence, but by 
words; for as to the communication in silence, those who are 
in a state to receive are not thereby in a state to com- 
municate : there is a long road to travel before. Father 
La Combe communicated and received, as I have said ; but 
as for the others, they received without communicating. 
This same worthy friar had occasion to bring to me some 
of his companions, and God took them all for himself. 
Not that they were my children, as he was ; they were only 


conquests. And it was at the very time God was giving 
me these worthy monks, that the other monks of the same 
order were committing the ravages of which I have 
spoken, and endeavouring to destroy spiritual religion. I 
marvelled how our Lord compensated himself on these 
worthy monks — in pouring out his Spirit upon them with 
fulness — for what the others tried to make him lose, 
but without much effect ; for those other good souls which 
were persecuted were strengthened by the persecution, 
instead of being shaken. The Superior and the master of 
the novices of the House where this worthy friar was 
declared against me without knowing me, and were vexed 
that a woman, they said, should be so sought after. As 
they regarded things in themselves and not in God, who 
does what he pleases, they had only scorn for the gift 
which was contained in so miserable a vessel, in place of 
esteeming only God and his grace, without regard to the 
baseness of the subject in which he pours it out. This 
worthy friar contrived that his Superior came to thank me 
for the charities, he said, that I gave them. Our Lord 
permitted that he found in my conversation something 
which pleased him. At last he was completely gained 
over, and it was he who, being made Visitor some time 
afterwards, distributed so great a quantity of those books, 
which they, out of extreme charity, purchased at their 
expense, and which the others had tried to destroy by 
causing them even to be burnt. How admirable are you, 
my God, in your conduct, all wise and all loving, and 
how well you know how to triumph over the false wisdom 
of men and over all their precautions ! 

In the Noviciate there were several novices. He who 
was the senior of them was so disgusted with his vocation 
that he did not know what to do. The temptation was 
Buch that he could neither read, nor study, nor pray, nor 
perform almost any of his duties. The begging friar, one 
day that he acted as his companion, had a movement to 


bring him to me. We talked a little together, and our 
Lord made me discover the cause of his trouble and the 
remedy. I told it to him, and he set himself to pray, 
but a prayer of affection. He suddenly changed, and 
our Lord gave him great grace. In proportion as I spoke 
to him, an effect of grace was produced in his heart, and 
his soul opened herself like a parched land to the dew. 
He felt he was changed and freed from his trouble before 
leaving the room. He performed at once with joy, and 
even to perfection, all his exercises, which previously he 
performed with disgust, or did not perform at all. He 
studied and prayed with ease, and discharged all his 
duties, so that he no longer knew himself, nor did the 
others. But what astonished him more was a germ of 
life which had remained with him, and a gift of prayer. 
He saw that there was given to him without trouble what 
previously he could not have, whatever trouble he took ; 
and that vivifying germ was the principle which made him 
act, and gave him grace for his occupations and a root of 
God's presence, which brought with it all good. He 
gradually brought to me all the novices, who all felt the 
effects of grace, but differently and according to their 
degree; so that never did Noviciate appear more flourishing. 
The Father, who was master, and the Superior, could 
not help wondering at so great a change in their novices, 
although they did not penetrate the cause ; and one day 
as they spoke of it to the begging friar, and said to him — 
for they had him in- great esteem, being men of merit and 
virtue — that they were surprised by the change in the 
novices, and the blessing that the Lord had given to their 
Noviciate, ho said to them, " My Fathers, if you permit 
me, I will tell you the cause. It is that lady, against 
whom you cried out so strongly without knowing her, 
of whom God has made use for this." They were very 
much surprised, and that Father, although very aged, 
bad the humility, as well as his Guardian, to use prayer 


in the way taught in a little book which our Lord had 
made me compose, and of which I shall speak immediately. 
They so much profited by it that the Guardian said, " I am 
a new man. I could not pray because my reasoning was 
dulled and exhausted, and now I do it without trouble as 
much as I wish, with much fruit and a quite different 
presence of God." The other Father said to him, " For forty 
years I am a monk, and I can say that I have never known 
how to pray, nor known and tasted God until this time." 
As my true children I had only the first of the novices 
of whom I have spoken, the begging friar, and another 
Father, nephew of the begging friar. There were many 
others won for God in a special manner. I saw clearly 
that they were gained, but I did not feel in their case 
that maternity and that inward flowing out of which I 
have spoken, although they were, however, our Lord's 
through my means. I do not know if I can make myself 

Our Lord gave me a very great number of children, 
and three famous monks, from an order by which I have 
been, and am still, much persecuted. These are very 
closely bound to me, especially one. He made me help 
a great number of nuns and virtuous girls, and even men 
of the world, among others a young man of rank, who has 
given himself to God, and is his in a very special manner. 
He is a man very spiritually minded, and who, while 
married, is very holy. Our Lord sent me also an Abbe 
of rank, who had left the Order of Malta, to take up that 
of the priesthood. He was relative of a Bishop of that 
neighbourhood, who had plans for him. Our Lord gave 
him great grace, and he is very faithful to prayer. I could 
not write the great number of souls then given to me 
— maids and wives, monks and priests ; but there were 
three cures, and one canon, who were more especially 
given to me, and a grand vicar. There was also a priest 
who was given to me very intimately, for whom I suffered 

88 MADAME GUYON. [Pabt n. 

much ; but as he was not willing to die to himself, and too 
much loved himself, he was entirely torn away from me, 
and I suffered terribly. I suffered before he was torn from 
me, and I knew by my suffering that he was about to 
be torn from me, and to fall. As for the others, some 
remained unshaken, and others were a little shaken by 
the tempest, but they are not torn away : although these 
stray, they still return ; but those who are torn away never 

Among the great number of persons whom our Lord 
caused me to aid, and who all entered on the way of 
spirituality, and gave themselves particularly to God, there 
were some who were given to me as true daughters, 
and all recognized me as their mother, and of these last 
some were in a state to remain in silence : but that was 
rare. There was one whom our Lord made use of to gain 
many others to him. She was in a strange state of death 
when I saw her. Our Lord gave her peace and life. She 
afterwards fell sick to death, and although the doctors 
said she would die, I had a certainty to the contrary, and 
that God would make use of her, as he did, to gain souls. 
There was in a convent a girl whom people without light 
had caused to be confined because she was in trouble. I 
saw her ; I understood her distress, and that she was not 
what she was thought to be. As soon as I had spoken to 
her she was restored ; but the Prioress was displeased at 
my telling her my thoughts, because the person who for 
want of light had reduced her to that state was her own 
friend. So that they tormented her more than before, and 
threw her back into her trouble. 

A Sister of another convent was for eight years in an 
inconceivable trouble without finding any one to relieve 
her ; for her director increased it by giving her remedies 
quite unsuited to her disease. I had never been in that 
convent, as I used not to go to convents unless I was 
Bent for. Our Lord gave me no inclination nor movement 


to thrust myself in of myself ; but I used to allow myself 
to be led by providence, and to go where I was sent for. 
I was very much surprised, when, at eight in the evening, 
I was sent for by the Prioress. It was in summer, and the 
days long. As I was very near I went at once. I found a 
Sister who told me her trouble, and that she had been 
driven to such a point that she had taken a knife to kill 
herself, seeing no other remedy ; but that the knife had 
fallen from her hand, and a person who had been to see 
her, without her disclosing the nature of the trouble, had 
advised her speak to me. Our Lord made me recognize 
at once what the matter was, and that he wished her to 
abandon herself to him, instead of resisting him, as they 
had made her do for eight years. I made her give herself 
up to our Lord, and she entered at once into a heavenly 
peace ; all her pains were taken away in a moment, and 
since that time have never returned. She is the most 
capable girl in that House. She was at once so changed 
that she was the admiration of the community. Our Lord 
gave her a very great gift of prayer, his constant presence 
and ability for everything. She was given to me as a 
daughter ; and a Sister, who was servant, a very holy 
woman, troubled for twenty-two years, was also delivered 
from her pain. This caused a friendship to be formed 
between the Prioress and me (and in her manner 
she was a very holy person), because the change and the 
peace of that Sister surprised her, having seen her in such 
terrible pains. I formed yet other connections in that 
convent, where there are souls to whom our Lord has 
shown great mercies through the means he had chosen. 



You were not content, my God, with making me speak, 
you further gave me an impulse to read the Holy Scripture. 
There was a time that I did not read, for I found in myself 
no want to fill up ; on the contrary, rather too great a 
plenitude. As soon as I commenced reading the Holy 
Scripture, it was given me to write out the passage I read, 
and immediately the explanation of it was given to me. 
In writing out the passage I had not the least thought 
on the explanation, and as soon as it was written out it 
was given to me to explain it, writing with inconceivable 
quickness. Before writing I did not know what I was 
going to write ; while writing I saw that I was writing 
things I had never known, and during the time of the 
manifestation light was given me that I had in me 
treasures of knowledge and understanding that I did not 
know myself to possess. As soon as I had written I 
remembered nothing whatever of what I had written, and 
there remained to me neither species nor images. I could 
not have made use of what I had written to aid souls ; 
but our Lord gave me while I spoke to them (without my 
paying any attention to it) all that was necessary for 
them. In this way our Lord made me explain all the 
Holy Scripture. I had no book except the Bible, and 
that alone I used without searching for anything. When, 
in writing on the Old Testament, I took passages from 
the New to support what I was saying, it was not that 


I sought them out, but they were given to me at the 
same time as the explanation ; and exactly the same 
with the New Testament. I there made use of passages 
from the Old, and they were given to me without my 
searching for anything. I had no time to write except 
at night, for I had to speak all day, without reflection any 
more for speaking than for writing, and as little careful 
of my health, or of my life, as of myself. I used to sleep 
only one or two hours every night, and with that almost 
every day I had fever, ordinarily a quartan, and yet I 
continued to write without inconvenience, without troubling 
myself whether I should die or live. He whose I was 
without any reserve did with me as he pleased, without 
my meddling in his work. You yourself, my God, used 
to wake me up, and I owed such an entire dependence and 
obedience to your will that you were not willing to suffer 
the least natural movement. When the least thing 
mingled therewith you punished it, and it ceased at once. 

You made me write with such a purity that I had to 
stop and begin again as you wished. You tried me in 
every way ; suddenly you made me write, then stop 
immediately, and again begin. When I wrote by day I was 
suddenly interrupted, and often left words half written, and 
you gave me afterwards what you pleased. What I wrote 
was not in my head; my head was so free that it was a 
perfect vacuum. I was so detached from what I wrote 
that it seemed strange to me. A reflection occurred to me : 
I was punished for it ; my writing at once dried up, and I 
remained like a fool until I was enlightened thereon. The 
least joy in the graces you gave me was very rigorously 
punished. All the faults which are in my writings come 
from this, that, not being accustomed to the operation of 
God, I was often unfaithful : thinking I was doing well in 
continuing to write when I had the time without having 
the movement for it, because I had been ordered to finish 
the work ; so that it is easy to see passages which are 


beautiful and sustained, and others which have neither 
taste nor unction. I have left them as they are in order 
that people may see the difference between the Spirit of 
God and the natural human spirit ; being, however, ready 
to correct them according to the present light which is 
given me, in case I am ordered to do so. 

Previous to this time what test did you not make of my 
abandonment ? Did you not give me a hundred different 
aspects to see if I was yours without reserve, under every 
test, and if I had yet some little interest for myself ? You 
still found this soul supple and pliable to all your wishes. 
What have you not made me suffer ? Into what humiliation 
did you not cast me to counterbalance your graces ? To 
what, my God, did you not deliver me, and by what 
painful straits did you not make me pass ? That which 
before I could not touch with the tip of my finger became 
my ordinary food. But I was not troubled at all that you 
did to me. I saw with pleasure and complaisance — taking 
no more interest in myself than in a dead dog — I saw, I 
say, with complaisance your divine play. You lifted me 
up to heaven, then immediately you cast me down into 
the mud, then with the same hand you replaced me in the 
place from which you had cast me down. I saw 
that I was the sport of your love and of your will, the 
victim of your divine justice, and all was alike to me. It 
seems to me, my God, that you treat your dearest friends 
as the sea does its waves. It drives them at times with 
impetuosity against the rocks, where they are broken ; 
at other times against the sand or the mud, and then 
immediately it receives back into its bosom and buries 
there that wave with so much the more force as it had with 
greater impetuosity cast it forth. This is the play which 
you make of your friends who, nevertheless, are one in 
you, changed and transformed into yourself, although you 
make a continual play of casting them off and receiving 
them back into your bosom ; like as the waves are a part 


of the sea, and after a wave has been thrown forward with 
greater impetuosity, the gulf which swallows it up is deeper 
in proportion. my God, what things I should have to 
tell ! but I am not able to say anything of the operations 
of your just and beneficent love, because they are too subtle. 
This love delights in making those whom it has made 
one in you the continual victims of its justice. It seems 
that these souls are made holocausts to be burnt up by love 
on the altar of the divine Justice. Oh, how few the souls of 
this kind ! They are almost all the souls of Mercy, and it 
is much ; but to belong to the divine Justice, Oh, how rare 
that is ! but how great it is ! These are the souls of God 
alone, who have no longer any interest in themselves, or 
for themselves ; all is for God, without reference or relation 
to themselves as to salvation, perfection, eternity, life, or 
death. All that is not for them: their business is to let 
the divine Justice satiate itself in them, as says Deborah, 
with blood of the dead ; that is to say, with this soul 
already dead through love ; and take on her vengeance for 
the sins of the others. This is too little ; it satiates itself 
with a glory which is peculiar to that attribute — glory 
which does not permit the smallest reference to the 
creature, and which desires everything for itself. Mercy is 
altogether distributive in favour of the creature ; but Justice 
devours and carries off everything, and cannot desire 
anything save for itself, without having any regard for the 
victim which it sacrifices ; it is for this reason that it does 
not spare. Yet it desires voluntary victims, who have no 
other object than itself in what they suffer, no more than 
it has any other object than itself in what it makes them 
suffer. It is not that the soul thus devoured pays attention 
to this loving cruelty, which treats her pitilessly ; no, she 
has neither thought nor reflection. She thinks on it only 
when it is given her to write or to speak on the subject. 
This Justice, thus devouring, nourishes itself only from 
sufferings, opprobrium and ignominy, and with the same 


hand with which it has struck the Author of justice, it 
strikes with so much the more force those who are pre- 
destinated, the more conformed they are to be to him. 

But it will be said, How, then, is such a soul sustained 
in the cruelty of the divine Justice ? She is sustained 
without sustenance by the same cruelty ; the more she 
is deserted, as it seems, by God, the more is she sustained 
in God above all sustenance : for it must not be thought 
that such a soul has anything for herself which can satisfy 
her, either within or without — absolutely nothing. All is 
rigour without any rigour ; all that is given her is only 
given for the neighbour, and to make him know and love 
and possess his God. 

My friend commenced to conceive some jealousy at the 
applause which was given me, God so permitting in order 
to further purify that holy soul through this weakness 
and the pain which it caused her. Her friendship changed 
into coolness and something more. It was you, my God, 
who permitted it, as I have said. Certain confessors also 
commenced to stir themselves, saying that it was not for 
me to meddle with helping souls, that there were some of 
their penitents who had for me an entire openness. It was 
here one might easily remark the difference between those 
confessors who sought only God in the conduct of souls, 
and those who sought themselves ; for the former used to 
come to see me, and were delighted with the graces which 
God bestowed on their penitents, without paying attention 
to the channel of which he made use. The others, on the 
contrary, secretly moved to stir up the town against me. 
I saw that they would have been right in opposing me if I 
had intruded of myself; but besides that I could only do 
what our Lord made me do, it was a fact that I did not 
seek any one. Each one came to me from every direction, 
and I received all indifferently. Sometimes they came to 
oppose me. There were two monks of the same order as 
the begging friar of whom I have spoken ; the one was 


Provincial, very learned, and a great preacher, the other 
was Lent preacher at the cathedral. They came separately, 
after having studied a quantity of difficult subjects to 
propose to me. They did this, and although they were 
matters beyond my scope, our Lord made me answer with 
as much correctness as if I had studied them all my life ; 
after which I said to them myself what our Lord gave me. 
They went away not only convinced and satisfied, but 
smitten with yom* love, my God. 

I still continued to write, and with incredible quickness, 
for the hand could hardly follow the spirit which dictated, 
and during this long work I did not change my conduct, 
nor make use of any book. The copyist could not, however 
diligent, copy in five days what I wrote in a single night. 
What is good in it comes from you alone, my God ; and 
what is bad comes from me. I mean to say, from my 
unfaithfulness and the mixture which, without knowing it, 
I have made of my impurity with your pure and chaste 
doctrine. At the commencement I committed many faults, 
not being yet broken in to the operation of the Spirit of 
God, who made me write. For he made me stop writing 
when I had time to write and I could conveniently do it, 
and when I seemed to have a very great need of sleeping, 
it was then he made me write. When I wrote by day 
there were continual interruptions, and I had not time to 
eat, owing to the number who used to come. I had to 
give up everything as soon as I was asked for, and in 
addition I had the maid who served me in the state of 
which I have spoken, and she without cause used to come 
and suddenly interrupt me, according as her whim took 
her. I often left the meaning half finished, without 
troubling myself whether what I was writing was connected 
or not. The places which may be defective are so only 
because sometimes I wished to write as I had the time, and 
then it was not grace at its fountain head. If these 
passages were numerous it would be pitiable. At last I 


accustomed myself to follow God in his way, not in mine. 
I wrote the Song of Songs in a day and a half, and in 
addition received visits. The quickness with which I 
wrote was so great that my arm swelled up and became 
quite stiff. At night it caused me great pain, and I did 
not believe I could write for a long time. There appeared 
to me as I slept a soul from purgatory, who urged me to 
ask her deliverance from my divine Spouse. I did so, and 
it seemed to me that she was at once delivered. I said to 
her, If it is true that you are delivered, cure my arm ; and 
it was instantly cured, and in a condition for writing. I 
will add to what I have said about my writings, that a 
very considerable part of the Book of Judges was lost. I 
was asked to make it complete. I rewrote the lost parts. 
A long time afterwards, having broken up house, it was 
found where one never would have looked for it. The 
earlier and the later were found to be exactly alike — a 
thing which astonished many persons of learning and 
merit, who verified the fact. 

There came to see me a counsellor of the Parliament, 
who is a model of holiness. This worthy servant of God 
found on my table a "Method of Prayer," which I had 
written a long time before. He took it from me, and 
having found it much to his taste, he gave it to some of 
his friends, to whom he thought it would be useful. All 
wished to have copies of it. He resolved with that worthy 
friar to have it printed. The printing commenced and the 
approbation given, they asked me to put a preface to it. I 
did so, and it is in this way that the little book, which has 
been made the pretext for my imprisonment, was printed. 
This counsellor is one of my closest friends, and a great 
servant of God. 

This poor little book, notwithstanding the persecution, 
has nevertheless been printed five or six times, and our 
Lord gives a very great blessing to it. These worthy 
monks took fifteen hundred copies. The begging friar 


wrote perfectly, and our Lord inspired him to copj^ my 
writings, at least a part. He also gave the same idea to 
a monk of a different order, so that each of them took 
some to copy. Being one night engaged in writing some- 
thing which he thought urgent (for he had misunderstood 
what had heen said to him), as it was extremely cold, and 
his legs were naked, they so swelled that he could not 
move. He came to see me, quite sad, and as if disgusted 
with writing. He told me his ailment, and that he could 
not go on his begging rounds. I told him to be cured; 
he was so on the instant, and went away very well pleased 
and very desirous of transcribing that work, through which 
he declares our Lord has bestowed on him great graces. 
There was also a worthy girl, but very fickle ; she had 
a great pain in the head. I touched it for her, and she 
was immediately cured. 

The Devil became so enraged against me, owing to the 
conquests that you made, my God, that he beat some of 
the people who came to see me. There was a worthy girl 
of great simplicity, who gained her livelihood by her work ; 
she is a girl who has received very great grace from our 
Lord. The Devil broke two teeth in her mouth ; her jaw 
swelled to a prodigious size, and he told her that if she 
came to see me any more he would give her worse treat- 
ment. She came to see me in this state, and said to me 
in her innocence, " The villain ! he has done this to me 
because I come to you; he utters great abuse against 
you." I told her to forbid him from me, touching her. 
Seeing that he was caught, and dared not touch her, for 
he could not do what God through me forbade him to do, 
he uttered much abuse, and made horrible gestures before 
her, and assured her he would stir up against me the 
most strange persecution I ever had. I laughed at all 
this, for I have no apprehension of him. Although he stir 
up persecutions against me, I know that in spite of him- 
self he will serve for the glory of my God. 




This poor girl came to see me one day quite distressed. 
She said to me, " my mother, what strange things I have 
seen!" I asked her what it was. "Alas! " she cried, "I saw 
you like a lamb in the midst of a pack of furious wolves. 
1 have seen a terrible gang of people of all kinds, of every 
age, sex, and condition — priests, monks, married people, 
maids, wives — with pikes, halberts, naked swords, who were 
trying to stab you. You let them do so without stirring, or 
showing astonishment, or defending yourself. I looked on 
all sides if any one would come to assist or defend you, 
but I have not seen any one." Some days after those who 
through envy were preparing a secret battery against me 
suddenly broke out like a thunderbolt. Libels commenced 
to circulate everywhere, and letters were shown me of the 
most dreadful character, which, without knowing me, 
envious persons had written. They said that I was a 
sorceress; that it was by magic I attracted souls; that 
whatever was in me was diabolic; that if I bestowed 
charities, it was with false money I did so ; and a thousand 
other crimes they accused me of, which were as false and 
as ill founded the one as the other. As the tempest each 
day increased, and they in truth said " Crucify ! " exactly as 
our Lord had at the first let me know, some of my friends 
advised me to withdraw for a time. The Almoner of the 
Bishop of Grenoble told me to go to St. Baume and to 


Marseilles, to spend some time ; that they wished for me 
there, where were some very spiritually minded persons ; 
that he would accompany me, together with a worthy maid 
and another ecclesiastic, and meantime the tempest would 
pass off. But before speaking of my departure from 
Grenoble, I must say something more of the state which I 
bore in that country. 

I was in such a great plenitude of God that I was often 
either lying down or entirely confined to bed, without being 
able to speak ; and when I had no means of pouring out 
this plenitude, our Lord did not permit it to be so violent, 
for in that violence I could no longer live. My soul only 
wished to pour out into other hearts her superabundance. 
I had the same union and the same communication with 
Father La Combe (although so far away) as if he was 
near. Jesus Christ was communicated to me in all his 
states. It was then his Apostolic state, which was most 
marked. All the operations of God in me were shown me 
in Jesus Christ, and explained by the Holy Scripture ; so 
that I bore in myself the experience of what was there 
written. When I could not write or communicate myself 
in another manner, I was then quite languishing, and 
I experienced what our Lord said to his disciples : "I 
desired with ardour to eat this Passover with you." That 
was the communication of himself through the Last 
Supper, and through his Passion, when he said, " All is 
consummated, and bowing the head, gave up the ghost" 
(because he communicated his spirit to all men capable of 
receiving him), " and returned it into the hands of his 
Father " and his God, as well as his kingdom ; as if he had 
said to his Father, " My Father, my kingdom is to reign 
through you, and you through me, over men. This can 
only be by the pouring out of my Spirit upon them. Let, 
then, my Spirit be communicated to them through my 
death." And herein is the consummation of all things. 
Often a too great plenitude took from me the capacity to 

100 MADAME GUYON. [Part IT. 

write, and I could do nothing except lie down without 
speech. I used, notwithstanding, to have nothing for 
myself; everything was for the others, like those nurses 
who are full of milk, and who for this reason are not the 
more supported — not that anything was wanting to me, for 
since my new life I have not had one moment of emptiness. 
Before writing on the Book of Kings of all that refers to 
David, I was put into such a close union with this holy 
patriarch that I communicated v/ith him as if he had been 
present, not in images, species, or figures — my soul was 
far removed from these things — but in a divine manner, 
in an ineffable silence, and in perfect reality. I under- 
stood what this holy patriarch was ; the greatness of his 
grace, the conduct of God with him, and all the circum- 
stances of the states through which he had passed ; that 
he was a living figure of Jesus Christ, and a shepherd 
chosen for Israel. It seemed to me that all our Lord 
made me, or would make me, do for souls, would be in 
union with this holy patriarch, and with those to wdiom I 
was at the same time united in a manner similar to what 
I had been with David, my dear King. Love, did you 
not make me know that the wonderful and real union 
between this holy patriarch and me would never be under- 
stood by any one ? for none was in a state to understand 
it. It was then you taught me, O my Love, that by this 
admirable union it was given me to carry Jesus Christ, 
Word-God, into souls. Jesus Christ is born of David 
according to the flesh. Oh, how many conquests did you 
cause me to make in this quite ineffable union ! My words 
were efficacious, and produced effects in hearts. It was the 
formation of Jesus Christ in souls. I was in no way the 
mistress of speaking or saying things ; he who led me made 
me speak them as he wished, and for as long as was pleasing 
to him. There were souls to whom he did not let me say 
a word, and others for whom there were deluges of grace. 
But that pui-e love did not suffer any superfluity nor 


trifling. Sometimes there were souls who asked several 
times the same things, and when they were answered 
according to their need, and it was only a desire of 
speaking, without my paying any attention to it, I could 
not answer them. They then said to me, "You said this 
last; must we hold to this?" I used to say to them, 
" Yes," and then I was enlightened that because the 
answer would have been useless, it was not given to me. 
It was exactly the same with those whom our Lord was 
leading through the death of themselves, and who came to 
seek for human consolation. I had for them merely the 
strictly necessary, after which I was unable to speak. I 
would rather have spoken of a hundred indifferent matters 
(because that is what comes of myself, which God allows, 
that I may be all things to all, and not vex my neighbour), 
but as for his Word, he himself is the dispenser of it. Oh, 
if preachers spoke in this spirit, what fruit would they not 
have ! There were others, as I have said, to whom I 
could communicate myself only in silence, but a silence as 
ineffable as efficacious. These last are the most rare, and 
it is the special characteristic of my true children. It is 
(as perhaps I have already said) the communication of the 
Blessed Spirits. 

It was then that I learned the true manner of treating 
with the Saints of heaven in God himself, and also with 
Saints on earth. communication so pure, who will be 
able to comprehend thee, save he who experiences thee ? 
If men were spirit, we would speak in spirit, but because of 
weakness we must have recourse to words. I had the con- 
solation some time ago to hear this read from St. Augus- 
tine in a spiritual conversation he had with his mother. 
He complains that he must have recourse to words, owing 
to our feebleness. I used sometimes to say, " Love, give 
me hearts large enough to contain such a great plenitude." 
It seemed to me that a thousand hearts would be too 
small. I had intelligence of the communication between 

102 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

Jesus Christ and St. John durmg the Last Supper. My 
intelligences were not lights, but intelligences of expe- 
rience. How did I truly experience, well-beloved disciple, 
the communication of my divine Master to your heart, and 
the manner in which you learned ineffable secrets, and 
how you continued a like commerce with the Holy Virgin ! 
Oh, how one may well call that communication a wonderful 
intercourse ! It was given me to understand that herein 
was the language of the cradle, and how the Holy Child 
communicated himself to the kings and shepherds, and 
gave them the knowledge of his Divinity. 

It was also (as I have said somewhere) in this way that 
when the Holy Virgin came to Elizabeth, a wonderful 
intercourse took place between Jesus Christ and St. John — 
intercourse which communicated to him the spirit of the 
Word, and the holiness which was so efficacious that it 
always continued. It is for this reason St. John Baptist 
showed no eagerness to come and see Jesus Christ after 
this communication, for they used to communicate at a 
distance as well as if near ; and in order to receive these 
communications with more plenitude, he retired into the 
desert. So when he preached penitence, what did he say 
of himself ? He did not say he was the Word, for he knew 
quite well that was Jesus Christ, Eternal Word, but he only 
said he was a voice. The voice serves as passage to the 
word, and emits it ; so that after being filled with the com- 
munication of the divine Word, he was made the expression 
of that same Word, propelling by his voice that divine 
Word into souls. He knew it from the first : he had no 
need any one should tell him who he was ; and if he sent 
his disciples to him, it was not for himself, but for them, 
to make them disciples of Jesus Christ. He baptized only 
with water, to let it be seen what was his function, for as 
the water in flowing away leaves nothing, so the voice 
leaves nothing. It is only the Word who impresses him- 
self. He was made, then, to carry the Word, but he was 


not the Word ; and he who was the Word baptized with the 
Holy Spirit, because he had the gift to impress himself on 
souls, and to communicate himself to them by the Holy 
Spirit. I understood that Joseph and Mary mutually com- 
municated through Jesus. Jesus was the principle and 
the end of their communications. adorable intercourse ! 
It is not observable that Jesus Christ said anything during 
his obscure life, although it is true that none of his words 
will be lost. Love, if all you have said and operated in 
silence were written, I do not believe that all the world 
could contain all the books which should be written. All 
that I experienced was shown me in the Holy Scripture, 
and I saw with wonder that nothing passed in the soul 
which is not in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Scripture. 
When I communicated with narrow hearts I experienced a 
very great torment. It was like an impetuous stream of 
water, which, not finding an issue, returns upon itself, and 
I was sometimes ready to die. God, could I describe or 
make to be understood all I suffered in that place, and the 
mercies you showed me there ? I must pass over many 
things in silence, as well because they cannot be expressed 
as that they would not be understood. What caused me 
the most suffering was Father La Combe ; as he was not 
yet established firmly in his state, and that God exercised 
him in crosses and overthrows, his doubts and his hesita- 
tions gave me strange blows. However far distant from 
me he was, I felt his pains and his dispositions. He was 
bearing a state of interior death and alternations the most 
cruel and terrible that ever were. According to the know- 
ledge which God has given me of it, he is therefore of all 
his servants now on earth the most agreeable to him. It 
was impressed upon me that he is a vessel of election, 
whom God had chosen to carry his Name among the 
Gentiles ; but that he would show him how much he must 
suffer for that very Name. 

When in those trials he found himself, as it were, 

104 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

rejected by God, he found himself at the same time 
separated from me. He doubted of my state, and had 
great griefs against me ; and as soon as God received him 
into himself, he found himself more powerfully united to 
me than ever, and he found himself enlightened on my 
state in a wonderful manner, God giving him an esteem 
which went as far as veneration : so that he could not 
conceal his sentiments, and he often repeated to me, " I 
cannot be united to you out of God, for as soon as I am 
rejected by God, I am the same by you, and I feel myself 
divided from you, in continual doubt and hesitation as to 
what concerns you ; and as soon as I am well with God, I 
am well with you. I know the grace he bestows on me in 
uniting me to you, and how dear you are to him, and the 
central depth he has put into you." 

God, who will ever comprehend the pure and holy 
unions which you form among your creatures ! The 
carnal world only judges of them carnally, attributing to a 
natural attachment that which is the highest grace. You 
alone, God, Imow what I have suffered on this head. All 
the other crosses, although very hard, a^Dpeared to me 
shadows beside that. Our Lord made me one time under- 
stand that when Father La Combe should be established 
in him in a permanent state, and he should have no 
more interior vicissitudes, he would have none also in 
regard to me, and that he would remain for ever united 
to me in God. That is so at present. I saw that he felt 
the union and the division only owing to his weakness, and 
that his state was not yet permanent. I felt it only 
because he divided himself, and that I had to bear all this ; 
but ever since the union has been without contrariety, 
without hindrance and in its perfection, he has no longer 
felt it, no more than I ; except by an awakening in interior 
conversation in the manner of the Blessed. 

The union of the soul with God is felt only because it 
is not entirely perfect ; but as soon as it is consummated in 


unity, it is no more felt : it becomes, as it were, natural. 
One does not feel the union of the soul and the body. The 
body lives and operates in this union without one think- 
ing, or paying attention to the union. It exists — we know 
it ; and all the functions of life which the body performs 
do not allow us to be ignorant of it — yet one acts with- 
out attention to that. It is the same for the union with 
God and with certain creatures in him, for what shows the 
purity and eminence of this union is that it follows that 
with God ; and it is so much the more perfect as that of 
the soul to God and in him is more perfected. Yet were it 
necessary to break this pure and holy union, one would 
feel it the more, in proportion as it is more pure, perfect, 
and insensible ; as one very well feels when the soul is 
about to separate from the body by death, although one 
does not feel the union. 

As I was in the state of childhood of which I have 
spoken, and Father La Combe got offended, and 
separated himself from me, I used to weep like a child, 
and my body became quite languishing ; and what is 
surprising is that I found myself at the same time weaker 
than a little child and strong as God. I found myself 
quite divine, enlightened on everything, and firm for the 
severest crosses ; and yet the weakness of the smallest 
child. God, I can say that I am perhaps the creature 
in all the world from whom you have desired the greatest 
dependence. You placed me in all kinds of states and in 
different positions, and my soul neither wished to, nor had 
the power to resist. I was so utterly yours that there was 
nothing in the world that you could have exacted of me, 
to which I would not have submitted with pleasure. I 
had no interest for myself, and if I could have perceived 
that " myself," I would have torn it into a thousand 
pieces ; but I no longer perceived it. 

Ordinarily I do not know or recognize my state, but 
when God wishes anything from this miserable nothing. 

106 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

I feel that he is absolute master, and that nothing, not to 
say, resists him, but even objects to his wishes, however 
rigorous they may seem. Love, if there is a heart in 
the world over which you are fully victorious, I can say 
that it is this poor nothing. You know it, Love, and 
that your most rigorous volitions are its life and its 
pleasure; for it subsists no more but in you. I have 
wandered ; that is a common thing with me, as well 
owing to interruptions and that I have had two severe 
illnesses since I commenced to write, as that I give 
myself up to what carries me away. 



To resume, the Almoner of the Bishop of Genoble per- 
suaded me to go and pass some time at Marseilles, to let 
the tempest blow over, and said that I should there be 
very well received, that it was his country, and that 
many good persons were there. I wrote to Father La 
Combe, that I might have his approval. He permitted it. 
I might have gone to Verceil, for the Bishop of Verceil 
had sent me by express the strongest, most pressing, and 
most attractive letters possible, to induce me to go into 
his diocese ; but deference to man's opinion and the fear of 
giving opportunity to my enemies (when I use the term 
enemy it is not that I consider any person such, nor 
that I can look upon those whom God makes use of 
otherwise than as the instruments of his justice, but it 
is to explain myself) — these two reasons, I say, made me 
extremely unwilling. Besides, the Marquise de Prunai, who 
since my departure had been more enlightened by her own 
experience, having found true some of the things which 
I had believed were about to happen to her, had conceived 
for me a very strong friendship, and a very intimate union, 
so that the most united sisters could not be more so 
than were we. She wished extremely I should return to 
her as I had before promised; but I could not resolve 
upon it, lest it should be thought I was going where Father 
La Combe was. But, my God, how this remnant of 

108 MADAME GUYON. [Paut II. 

self-love was overthrown by the action of your adorable pro- 
vidence ! I had still this interior support of being able to 
say that I had never been running after Father La Combe, 
and that this could not be said of me, nor could I be 
accused on this head of any attachment to him, since 
when it depended only upon me to live near him, I did 
not do so. The Bishop of Geneva had not failed to write 
against me to Grenoble, as he had done elsewhere. His 
nephew had been from house to house decryuig me. All 
this was indifferent to me, and I nevertheless procured for 
his diocese all the good I could. I even wrote politely to 
him; but his heart was too wounded in the matter of 
worldly interest, he said, to give in. These were his own 

Before setting out from Grenoble, that worthy child of 
whom I have spoken, whom the Devil had severely 
ill-treated, came to see me, and said to me, weeping, 
**The Devil has told me that you are going away." It 
should be observed that I had not told a single person. 
The Devil, then, told her that I was going away, and that I 
had concealed it from her, because I did not wish any one 
should know ; but that he would soon catch me, and that 
he would be before me in all the places where I should go ; 
that hardly should I arrive in any town, but he would stir 
up the whole town against me. And he made her under- 
stand that he was enraged against me, and would do me 
all the ill he could. What had obliged me to keep my 
departure secret was that I feared being overwhelmed with 
visits and testimony of friendship from numbers of good 
people, who had much affection for me. 

I embarked, then, on the Ehone, with my maid and a 
worthy girl of Grenoble, to whom our Lord had through 
my means given much grace. She was to me a genuine 
source of crosses. The Almoner of the Bishop of 
Grenoble accompanied me, together with another eccle- 
siastic, a very excellent man. We had many adventures, 


and were near perishing ; for in a very dangerous place 
the cable broke, and the boat went right against a rock. 
The master pilot fell overboard at the shock, and would 
have been di-owned but for the gentlemen who saved him. 
Another accident also happened to me. Having with 
the gentlemen gone down the Rhone in a small boat 
managed by a child, in expectation of finding a large 
boat, without success, we had to return to Valence, after 
having gone down more than a league. Every one got 
out of the boat because it was too heavy to reascend the 
river, and as I could not walk I remained in it at the 
mercy of the waves, which bore us where they pleased 
without resistance ; for the child who managed the boat, and 
did not know his business, took to tears, saying we were 
about to be drowned. I encouraged him, so that, having 
contended for more than four hours with the waves, while 
those who were on the bank believed us at one time utterly 
lost, then again saved, at last we arrived. 

These manifest dangers, which frightened the others, 
far from alarming me, increased my peace — a thing which 
astonished the Bishop's Almoner, who was in a horrible 
fright when the boat ran against the rock and split ; for, 
attentively looking at me in his emotion, he noticed that 
I did not frown, and that my tranquillity was not in the 
least altered. It is true that I did not feel even the first 
movements of surprise, which are natural to every one 
on these occasions, and which do not depend on us. 
What caused my peace in these perils that suddenly 
surprise, was my inmost centre being in an abandonment 
always fixed and firm in God, and because death is to me 
far more agreeable than life ; I should need much more 
abandonment to God for living than for dying, if I 
could have any wish. I am indifferent to everything, and 
that is why nothing alters my central depth. 

On leaving Grenoble a man of rank, a great servant of 
God and an intimate friend of mine, had given me a letter 

110 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

for a very devout Knight of Malta, whom I have always 
regarded since I knew him as a man our Lord destines to 
be very useful to the Order of Malta; to be its example 
and support through his holy life. I told him even that I 
believed he would go to Malta and that God would assuredly 
make use of him to inspire with piety many of the Knights. 
He has, in fact, gone to Malta, where at once the highest 
offices were given to him. That man of rank sent him the 
little book on prayer entitled, "A Short Method," printed 
at Grenoble. This knight had an almoner very much 
opposed to spirituality. He took the book and at once 
condemned it, and set about stirring up a party in the town, 
among others seventy -two persons who openly called them- 
selves the seventy-two disciples of M. de St. Cyran. I 
had only arrived at ten o'clock in the morning, and a few 
hours after noon everything was in commotion against 
me. They went to see the Bishop of Marseilles, telling 
him that, owing to that little book, he must drive me away 
from Marseilles. They gave him the book, which he 
examined with his theologian, and which he found very 
good. He sent to fetch M. Malaval and a worthy Eecolet 
Father who he knew had been to see me a little after my 
arrival, to ascertain from them whence arose this great 
tumult (which made me laugh a little, when I saw so soon 
accomplished what the Devil had told that worthy girl). 
M. Malaval and the monk told the Bishop what they 
thought of me, so that he expressed great displeasure 
at the insult which had been put on me. I was obliged 
to go and see him. He received me with extreme kindness, 
and asked my pardon. He prayed me to remain at 
Marseilles, that he would protect me ; he even inquired 
where I lodged, that he might come and see me. The 
next day the Almoner of the Bishop of Grenoble, with that 
other priest who came with us, went to see him. The 
Bishop again expressed to them the vexation he felt at 
the insults which had been cast upon me without cause, 


and he said that it was the usual practice of those persons 
to insult all who were not of their faction ; that they had 
insulted himself. They were not content with that ; they 
wrote me the most offensive letters possible, although 
these persons did not know me. 

I understood that our Lord was commencing in earnest 
to deprive me of any dwelling-place, and these words came 
afresh to me : " The birds of heaven have nests, and the 
foxes have holes, and the Son of Man has not where to lay 
his head." I willingly entered upon that state. 

Our Lord nevertheless made use of me during the short 
time I remained at Marseilles to aid in supporting some 
good souls, among others an ecclesiastic who did not 
know me. He used to say Mass in a church where I went 
to hear it. After he had said the Thanksgiving, seeing me 
go out, he followed me, and having come to the house 
where I lodged, he told me that our Lord had inspired 
him to address me, and had made him know that I was 
the person to whom he should open himself for his 
spiritual state. He did it with as much simpHcity as 
humility. Our Lord gave me all that was necessary for 
him, from which he was filled with happiness and gratitude 
to our Lord ; for although many spiritual persons, even 
near friends of his own, were there, he never had the 
movement to open himself to them. He was a great 
servant of God, and had been favoured with a wonderful 
gift of prayer from even eight years of age. He had 
employed all his life in missions, and had a very great gift 
of discernment of spirits. In the eight days that I was at 
Marseilles I saw there many good souls ; for I used to have 
this consolation, that, in spite of the persecution, our Lord 
used always to perform some stroke of his hand ; and this 
good ecclesiastic was delivered from a strange trouble in 
which he had been several years. 

As soon as I had left Grenoble those who, without 
knowing me, hated me, set in circulation libels against 


me. One person for whom I had had a very great charity, 
and whom I had even withdrawn from an engagement 
in which she was for many years, having contributed to re- 
move to a distance the person to whom she was attached, 
became so fm-ious thereat that she went herself to see 
the Bishop of Grenoble, to speak to him against me, going 
so far as to say that I had advised her to do an evil which 
I had broken off even at my expense ; for it cost me money 
to get away the person. They had lived together for eight 
years, and I knew her only for one month. She went from 
confessor to confessor saying the same thing, in order to 
excite them against me. The fire was kindled in all 
directions : only those who knew me and who loved God 
supported my side, and they found themselves more bound 
to me by the persecution. It would have been very easy 
for me to destroy the calumny, as well with the Bishop 
as the town. It was only needed to say who the person 
was and to exhibit the fruits of her disorder, for I knew 
everything; but as I could not declare the guilty one 
without making known her accomplice, who was very 
repentant and touched by God, I thought it better to 
suffer everything and remain silent. There was a very 
holy man who thoroughly knew the whole story; he 
wrote to her that if she did not retract her lies he 
would publish her evil life, so as to make known her 
wickedness and my innocence. That poor girl persevered 
still for some time in her malice, writing that I was a 
sorceress, and that she knew it by revelation and many 
other things. However, some time after she had, according 
to her account, such cruel remorse of conscience that she 
wrote to the Bishop and others to retract. She got a letter 
written to myself, that she was in despair at what she had 
done, that God had punished her in such a manner that 
never had she been treated in a similar way. After her 
retractation the rumour subsided, the Bishop was dis- 
abused, and from that time he has shown me great 


kindness. This creature had said, among other things, 
that I caused myself to be worshipped, and such strange 
absurdities that the like were never seen. As she had been 
formerly mad, I believe there was more weakness than 
malice in what she did. 

Being then at Marseilles, I knew not what to do, for I 
saw no possibility either of remaining there or returning to 
Grenoble, where I had left my daughter in a convent. 
On the other hand, Father La Combe had written me that 
he did not think I ought to return to Paris. I felt even 
great repugnance to it, without knowing the reason, which 
made me think that it was not yet the time. One morning 
I felt myself interiorly urged to depart. I took a litter to 
go and visit the Marquise de Prunai, who was, it seemed to 
me, the most respectable refuge for me in the state things 
were. I thought to be able to go by Nice, as I had been 
assured by people ; but I was very much astonished, when 
at Nice, to learn that the litter could not pass the 
mountain to go where I wanted. I knew not what to do, 
nor what side to turn to, being alone, abandoned by all 
the world, without knowing, my God, what you wished 
of me. My confusion and my crosses increased each day. 
I saw myself without refuge or retreat, wandering and 
vagabond. All the workmen that I saw in their shops 
appeared to me happy in having a dwelling-place and a 
refuge, and I found nothing in the world so hard for a 
person like me, who naturally loved honour, as this 
wandering life. While I knew not what course to take, I 
was told that nest day a small sloop was about to start, 
which would go to Genoa in a single day, and that if I 
wished they would land me at Savona, whence I could be 
carried to my friend the Marquise de Prunai. I consented 
to this, having no possibility of other conveyance. I had 
some joy in embarking on the sea, and I said to you, my 
God, "If I am the excrement of the earth, the refuse and 
scorn of nature, I am about to embark on the element the 


114 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

most faithless of all ; you can sink me in its waters, and I 
shall be pleased to die in that way." A storm came on in 
a place dangerous enough for a small boat, and the sailors 
were very bad. The turbulence of the waves constituted 
my pleasure, and I was delighted to think that these 
mutinous waters would serve perhaps for my grave. 
God, perhaps I committed some inj&delity in the pleasure 
I took at seeing myself beaten and tossed by these raging 
waves. I thought I saw myself in the hands of your 
providence : it seemed to me I was its plaything ; and I 
said to you, my God, in my language, "Let there be, 
then, in the world victims of your providence, and let me 
be one. Do not spare me." Those who were with me saw 
my intrepidity, but they were ignorant of its cause. I 
asked of you, my Love, a little hole in a rock, to place 
myself there and to live separated from all creatures. I 
pictured to myself that a desert island would have ended 
all my disgraces, and would have placed me in a state to 
perform infallibly your will ; but, my Love, you destined 
me to another prison than a rock, another exile than that 
of the desert isle. You reserved me to be beaten by waves 
more irritated than those of the sea. Calumny was the 
mutinous and pitiless sea to which you desired I should be 
exposed, to be thereby beaten without mercy : blessed for 
ever, my God, be you for this ! 

We were stopped by the storm, and in place of a short 
day's journey, the proper time to reach Genoa, we were 
eleven days on the way. How peaceable was my heart 
during this great agitation ! The tempest of the sea and 
the fury of the waves were only the symbol of that which 
all creatures had against me. I said to you, " my Love, 
arm them all to avenge yourself on my infidelities and 
those of all creatures." I saw with pleasure your arm 
raised against me, and I loved more than a thousand lives 
the strokes it gave me. We could not disembark at 
Savona ; it was necessary to go on to Genoa. We arrived 


there in the Holy Week. I had to endure the insults of 
the inhabitants, owing to their irritation against the 
French for the injuries caused by the bombardment. The 
Doge had just left, and he had taken with him all the litters ; 
for this reason I could not get one. I had to remain several 
days at an excessive expense, for these people demanded 
exorbitant sums, and as much for each person as would be 
charged in Paris at the best inn for the whole party. I 
was almost without money ; but the fund of providence 
could not fail me. I begged most earnestly, at whatever 
cost, that I might be supplied with a litter, so as to be able 
to go and spend Easter with the Marquise de Prunai ; yet 
there were only three days remaining to Easter, and 
I could not make myself understood. Owing to my 
entreaties, a bad litter was brought me, the mules 
belonging to which were lame, and I was told that for an 
exorbitant sum they would take me to Verceil, which was 
two days' distance, but not to the Marquise de Prunai ; 
because they did not even know where her estate was. I 
was strangely mortified, for I did not wish to go to 
Verceil, and yet the nearness of Easter, and the want of 
money in a country where they practised a sort of tyranny, 
left me no choice, but under an absolute necessity of 
allowing myself to be taken to Verceil. 

You led me, my God, by your providence, where I 
did not wish to go. Although the sum I had to give for 
such a bad conveyance for two days' journey was ten 
louis d'or, each sixteen livres of that country, nevertheless 
I accepted the unreasonable bargain from extreme necessity, 
and that in a country where conveyances are very cheap. 
The voiturier was the most cruel man possible, and for 
crown to our trouble, I had sent on the ecclesiastic, who 
accompanied us, to Verceil, in order to break the surprise 
of their seeing me after I had protested that I would 
not go there. This ecclesiastic was very badly treated 
on the road, from hatred against the French, and part 

116 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

of the journey he had to do on foot, so that, although 
he had set out in advance, he reached only a few hours 
before me. The man, then, who led us, seeing that he 
had only women to deal with, insulted us in every way 

We passed through a wood full of robbers. The mule- 
teer was afraid, and told us that if any one met us on the 
road we were lost, and that they spared no one. Hardly 
had he told us this, when four well-armed men appeared. 
They at once stopped the litter. The muleteer was very 
much terrified. They came to us and looked at us. I 
made them a bow with a smile, for I had no fear, and I was 
so abandoned to providence, that it was equal to me to die 
in that way or another, in the sea, or by the hand of 
robbers. But, my God, what was your protection over 
me, and what was my surrender into your hands ! How 
many dangers have I run on the mountains, and on the 
edge of precipices ! How many times have you stopped 
the foot of the mule, already sliding over the precipice ! 
How many times have I expected to be precipitated from 
those frightful mountains into terrible torrents, which were 
hid from view by the depth, but which made themselves 
heard by their fearful noise ! Where the dangers were 
more apparent, it was there my faith was stronger, as well 
as my intrepidity, which sprung from an inability to desire 
anything else but what would happen, whether it should 
be to be smashed on the rocks, to be drowned, or to be 
killed — all being alike in your will, my God. The 
people who led me said they never saw a similar courage, 
lor the most terrifying dangers, and where death seemed 
most certain, were those which pleased me more. Was 
it not you, my God, who held me back in the danger, 
and prevented me from rolling into the precipice, to which 
we were already slipping down ? The more reckless I was 
of a life, which I endured only because you yourself endured 
it, the more did you take care to preserve it. It was, 


my God, like a challenge between us two : I to abandon 
myself to you, and you to preserve me. The robbers then 
came to the litter, but I had no sooner saluted them than 
you made them change their purpose, one pushing the 
other to hinder him from hurting me. They saluted me 
very politely, and with an air of compassion, unusual in 
such persons, they withdrew. I was at once impressed, 
my Love, that it was a stroke of your right hand, which 
had other designs for me than to make me die by the 
hands of robbers. You are, my divine Love, that famous 
robber, who yourself take away everything from your lovers, 
and after having spoiled them of all, you become their 
pitiless murderer. Oh, how different is the martyrdom you 
make them endure, from that which all men taken to- 
gether could invent ! The muleteer, seeing me alone with 
two maids, thought he could illtreat me as much as he 
pleased, perhaps imagining to extort money. Instead of 
taking me to the inn, he took me to a mill, where there 
was no woman ; there was only a single room, with several 
beds, where the millers and the muleteers slept together. 
It was in this room he wanted to compel me to remain. I 
said I was not a person to lie down where he had brought 
me, and I tried to oblige him to take me to the inn. He 
would do no such thing. I had to set out on foot at ten 
o'clock at night, carrying a part of my clothes, and travel 
more than a quarter league of that country (where the 
leagues are very long) in the midst of darkness, without know- 
ing the road, crossing even one end of the robbers' wood, 
to go and find the inn. That man, seeing me leave the 
place where he had wanted to make us sleep, not without 
wicked intentions, cried out after us, abusing and ridicul- 
ing us. I bore my humiliation with pleasure, not without 
seeing and feeling it; but your will, my God, and my 
abandonment made everything easy to me. We were very 
well received at the inn, and those worthy people did their 
best to refresh us from our fatigue, assuring us that the 

118 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

place where we had been taken was very dangerous. The 
next day we had again to return on foot to find the litter, 
that man refusing to bring it to us. On the contrary, 
he poured out insults, and for crown of disgrace, he sold 
me to the post, and forced me thereby to go in a post- 
chaise, instead of in the litter. 

I reached Alexandria in that conveyance. It is a 
frontier town dependent on Spain, on the side of the 
Milanais. Our postilion wished to take us, as usual, to the 
post. I was much astonished to see the mistress of the 
house come to meet him, not to receive, but to hinder him 
entering. She had been told that there were women, so, 
thinking us other than we were, she did not wish for us. 
The postilion wished to persist. Their dispute grew so warm 
that a number of officers of the garrison, with a great 
crowd, assembled at the noise, astonished at the strangeness 
of the woman not wishing to lodge us. They thought she 
knew us for persons of bad livelihood, so that we had to 
submit to insults. However I urged the postilion to take 
us elsewhere ; he would not do it, and persisted obstinately 
in trying to enter, assuring the mistress that we were 
honourable and even pious persons, the signs of which he 
had seen. By his persistence he compelled the woman 
to come and see us. As soon as she had looked at us she 
did like the robbers, allowed herself to yield, and made us 
come in. I had no sooner got out of the chaise than she 
said to me, "Go and shut yourself in that room, and do not 
stir, that my son may not know you are there, for if he 
knows it, he will kill you." She said this to us with so 
much emphasis, and her servant also, that if death had 
not for me the many charms it has, I should have died of 
fear. The two poor girls were in terrible alarm ; when 
any one stirred, or came to open the door, they thought 
that our throats were about to be cut. In short, we remained 
between death and life until the next day, when we learned 
that the young man had taken an oath to kill all women 


who should lodge at his house, because a few days before 
he had had a very serious business which threatened his 
ruin ; a woman of evil life having assassinated a respect- 
able man at their house. This had cost them much, and 
with reason he feared similar persons. 

120 MADAME GUYON. [Pakt II. 


After such adventures and others which it would be 
tedious to relate, I arrived at Verceil the evening of Good 
Friday. Going to the inn, I was very badly received, and 
I had the opportunity of passing a genuine Good Friday, 
which lasted very long. I sent to find Father La Combe, 
believing him already informed by the ecclesiastic I had 
sent in advance, but the latter had only just arrived. 
I had many genuine mortifications to swallow for the ;ime 
I was without this ecclesiastic, which I should have esciped 
had I had him ; for in this country, when ladies are ac«om- 
panied by an ecclesiastic they are regarded with veneration, 
as persons of respectability and piety. Father La Ccmbe 
was strangely displeased at my arrival, God so permitting ; 
he even could not hide it from me. Thus I saw mj^self 
at the moment of arrival on the point of setting out agiin ; 
and I would have done this, notwithstanding my extiBme 
fatigue, but for the Easter festival. Father La Conbe 
could not prevent himself showing his mortification. He 
said that every one would think I had come to see him, 
and this would injure his reputation. He was in V3ry 
high esteem in that country. I had no less pain in gong 
there, and it was necessity alone which had made me do 
it, in spite of my objections ; so that I was placed in a 
state of sufi'erings, and our Lord adding his hand, maie 
them very severe. The Father received me coldly, and in a 
manner which bhowed me his sentiments, and this redoubled 


my pain. I asked him if he wished me to return, that I 
would set out on the moment, although I was overwhelmed 
with the fatigues of such a long and dangerous journey ; 
besides that I was much weakened by the Lent fast, which 
I kept as strictly as if I had not been travelling. He 
told me he did not know how the Bishop of Verceil would 
take my arrival, when he had ceased to expect it, after I 
had so long obstinately refused the obliging offers he had 
made me ; that he no longer showed any desire to see me 
since that refusal. It was then, it seemed to me, that I 
was cast out from the surface of the earth, without the 
means of finding any refuge, and that all creatures were 
combined together to crush me. I spent the rest of the 
night in this inn, without being able to sleep, and without 
knowing what course I should be compelled to take, being 
persecuted to the degree I was by my enemies, and a 
subject of shame to my friends. 

As soon as they knew at the inn that I was an acquaint- 
ance of Father La Combe they treated me very well, for 
he was there esteemed as a saint. The Father did not 
know how to tell the Bishop of Verceil that I was come, 
and I felt his trouble more keenly than my own. As soon 
as the Prelate knew I had arrived, as he thoroughly under- 
stood the proprieties, he sent his niece, who took me in her 
carriage and brought me to her house ; but things were 
only done for appearance, and the Bishop, not having yet 
seen me, did not know how to take such an inopportune 
journey, after my having three times refused to go there, 
although he had sent expresses to ask me to do so. 
He was disgusted with me. However, as he was in- 
formed that my design was not to remain at Verceil, but 
to go to the Marquise de Prunai, and that it was necessity 
owing to the festival which detained me, he let nothing 
appear ; on the contrary, he took care that I was very well 
treated. He could not see me until after Easfcer, as he 
officiated all the Vigil and on the day. In the evening, after 

122 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

all the duty of Easter Day was over, he had himself carried 
in a chair to his niece's house to see me, and although he 
understood French no better than I did Italian, he was 
none the less very well satisfied with the conversation that 
he had with me. He seemed to have as much kindness 
for me as he previously had indifference. The second visit 
finished in gaining him entirely. 

One could not be under greater obligations than I was 
to this good Prelate. He conceived as much friendship 
for me as if I had been his sister, and in the midst of his 
continual occupation, his sole diversion was to spend a 
half-hour with me, speaking about God. He began a 
letter to the Bishop of Marseilles to thank him for having 
protected me in the persecution. He wrote also to the 
Bishop of Grenoble, and there was nothing he left undone 
to mark his affection. He no longer thought of anything 
but devising means to keep me in his diocese. He was 
not willing to let me visit the Marquise de Prunai ; on the 
contrary, he wrote to her, inviting her to come herself with 
me into his diocese. He even sent Father La Combe 
expressly to urge her to come, assuring her that he wished 
to unite us all and form a small Community. The Marquise 
de Prunai entered into it readily enough, and her daughter 
also, and they would have come with Father La Combe 
but for the Marquise having fallen ill. She thought of 
sending her daughter to me, and the matter was deferred 
until she should be in better health. The Bishop com- 
menced by hiring a large house, which he even treated 
for the purchase of, in order to locate us in it. It was 
very suitable for a Community. He wrote also to a lady 
at Genoa, an acquaintance of bis, sister to a cardinal, 
who expressed much desire to unite with us, and the 
matter was considered already settled. There were also 
some devout girls, who were quite ready to set out to come 
to us. But, my God, your will was not to establish me, 
but rather to destroy me. 


The fatigue of the journey made me fall ill ; the girl 
I had brought from Grenoble also fell ill. Her relatives, 
persons very full of self-interest, got into their heads that 
if she died in my hands I might cause her to make a will 
in my favour. They were much mistaken ; for, far from 
wishing for the property of others, I had even given away 
my own. Her brother, full of this apprehension, came as 
quickly as possible, and the first thing he spoke to her of, 
although he found her recovered, was to make a will. This 
caused a great fracas at Verceil ; for he wanted to take 
her away, and she was not willing to go. However, as I 
noticed little solidity of character in this girl, I thought it 
was an opportunity which divine providence offered me of 
getting rid of her, as she was not suited to me. I advised 
her to do what her brother wished. He formed friendship 
with some officers of the garrison, to whom he told ridicu- 
lous stories, that I wanted to ill-use his sister, whom he 
represented as a person of quality, although she was of 
quite humble birth. This brought me many crosses and 
humiliations. They commenced to say, what I had 
always dreaded, that I had come for the sake of Father 
La Combe. They even persecuted him on account of me. 

The Bishop of Verceil was extremely vexed, but he 
could not apply any remedy ; for he could not make up his 
mind to let me go, besides that I was in no state to do so, 
being ill. The friendship he had for me increased each 
day, because, as he loved God, he had a friendship for all 
those he believed wishing to love him. As he saw me 
80 ill, he came to see me constantly, when he was free 
from his duties and occupations. This caused him and 
me also no slight crosses. He used to make me little 
presents of fruit, and other things of that nature. His 
relatives became jealous, saying I had come to ruin him, 
and carry away into France the money of the Bishop. It 
was what was furthest from my thoughts. This worthy 
Bishop swallowed all the crosses, through the friendship 

124 MADAME GUYON. [Pabt II. 

he had for me, and still confidently calculated on keeping 
me in his diocese as soon as I was recovered. 

Father La Combe was his theologian and his confessor : 
he esteemed him greatly ; and the Father did a great deal 
of good in that garrison, God making use of him to convert 
many of the officers and soldiers. Some of very scandalous 
life became models of virtue. He induced the subaltern 
officers to make retreats ; he preached and instructed the 
soldiers, who profited greatly, and as a consequence made 
general confessions. In this place there was a constant 
mixture of crosses and of souls gained for our Lord. 
There were some of his brother monks, who, after his 
example, were working for their perfection, and, although 
I hardly understood their language and they did not at 
all understand mine, our Lord brought it about that we 
understood each other in what regarded his service. The 
Father Eector of the Jesuits, having heard me spoken of, 
took the opportunity of Father La Combe's absence from 
Verceil to come and, as he said, try me. He had studied 
theological subjects that I did not understand, and put 
numbers of questions to me. Our Lord gave me the 
means of answering, and he went away so satisfied that he 
could not help speaking of it. Father La Combe stood 
well then with the Bishop of Verceil, who looked on him 
with veneration. 

But the Bernabites of Paris, or rather Father La 
Mothe, bethought himself of bringing him away from 
there, to make him go and preach at Paris. He wrote of 
it to their General, saying that they had none at Paris 
qualified to uphold the House ; that their church was 
deserted ; that it was a mistake to leave a man like Father 
La Combe in a place where he was merely corrupting his 
language ; that his great talents should be exhibited at 
Paris ; that for the rest, he could not bear the burden of 
the House at Paris, if he was not given a man of that 
etamp. Who would not have believed that all this was 


sincere ? The Bishop, who was a great friend of the 
General, hearing of it, offered opposition, and wrote to 
him that it was to do him the very greatest injury to 
take away a man who was so useful to him, and at a time 
when he had the greatest need of him. He was right, 
for he had a Grand Vicar whom he had brought from 
Rome, who, after having been Nuncio of the Pope in France, 
had by his evil life been reduced to live off his Masses, even 
in Eome itself, where he was in such great need as to 
attract the compassion of the Bishop of Verceil, who took 
him, and gave him very good allowances for acting as his 
Grand Vicar. This Abbe, far from gratitude to his bene- 
factor, following the whim of his humour, was constantly 
in opposition to the Bishop, and if any ecclesiastic was dis- 
orderly or discontented, it was with him the Abbe took part 
against his Bishop. All those that complained against 
the Prelate or insulted him, were at once friends of the 
Grand Vicar, who, not content with this, laboured with 
all his might to embroil him with the Court of Eome ; 
saying he was entirely devoted to France, to the prejudice 
of his Holiness's interests, and as a proof, that he had 
several Frenchmen with him. He also by his secret 
intrigues embroiled him with the Court of Savoy ; so that 
this worthy Bishop had very severe crosses from this man. 
Not being able to bear it, the Bishop requested him to 
retire, and with great generosity gave him all that was 
necessary for his return journey. He was extremely 
offended at having to leave the Bishop, and turned all 
his anger against Father La Combe, against a French 
gentleman, and against me. 

The General of the Bernabites was not willing to grant 
Father La Mothe's request, for fear of hurting his great 
friend the Bishop, and to take away from him a man who 
in that conjuncture of affairs was very necessary to him. 
As for me, my ills increased day by day. The air, which 
there is extremely bad, caused me a constant cough, 

126 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

together with the fever which I often had, accompanied 
with inflammation of the chest, so that I had to be severely 
bled. I became swollen. In the evening I would be swollen 
to a great size, in the morning nothing was apparent ; the 
fever which I had every night consumed the humours. It 
was all the right side which first swelled ; at first only the 
right arm, afterwards it extended and became so con- 
siderable that it was thought I should die. The Bishop 
was very much distressed, for he could not make up his 
mind to let me go, nor yet to see me thus die in his 
diocese. But after having consulted the doctors, who told 
him that the air of the place was fatal to me, he said to 
me with many tears, " I prefer you should live away from 
me rather than to see you die here." 

He gave up his design for the establishment of a 
Community ; for my friend was not willing to settle there 
without me, and the Genoese lady could not leave her town, 
where she was highly thought of. The Genoese prayed 
her to do there what the Bishop wished to do at his place. 
It was a Community something like that of Madame de 
Miramion; for in that country there are only cloistered 
nuns. From the beginning, when the Bishop proposed 
the matter to me, I had a presentiment that it would not 
succeed, and that it was not what our Lord desired of me. 
Nevertheless, I gave in to all that was wished of me in 
recognition of the Prelate's kindness, sure as I was that 
our Lord would be able to prevent anything he did not 
desire of me. When this good Prelate saw that he must 
resolve to let me go, he said to me, " You would like to be 
in the diocese of Geneva, and the Bishop persecutes and 
rejects you ; and I, who would so gladly have you, am not 
able to keep you." The Bishop wrote to Father La Mothe 
that I would go away in the spring, as soon as the season 
would allow ; that he was very distressed at being obliged 
to let me go ; and he said of me things that might throw 
me into confusion, if I could take to myself anything. He 


wrote that he regarded me in his diocese as an angel, and 
a thousand other things which his goodness suggested. 
From this out I made my account for returning ; but the 
Bishop expected to keep Father La Combe, and that he 
would not go to Paris. That would have been the case, 
indeed, but for the death of the General, as I shall tell 

Almost all the time I was in this country our Lord made 
me there suffer many crosses, and at the same time he 
multiplied upon me graces and humiliations ; for with me 
one has never been without the other. I was almost 
always ill and in a state of childhood. I had with me 
only that girl of whom I have spoken, who, in the state 
which she was in, could not give me any relief, and who 
seemed to be with me merely to try me and make me 
suifer strangely. It was there I wrote upon the Apocalypse, 
and I was given a greater certainty of all I had known of 
the persecution which should come upon the most faithful 
servants of God, in accordance with what I wrote touching 
the future. I was, as I have said, in the state of child- 
hood; when I had to write or speak there was nothing 
greater than I — it seemed to me I was quite full of God — 
and yet nothing smaller or feebler than I, for I was like a 
little child. Our Lord wished that not only should I bear 
his state of childhood in a way that charmed those who 
were prepared for it, but he desired further that by an 
external cult I should commence to honour his Divine 
Childhood. He inspired that worthy begging friar to send 
me a Child Jesus of wax, of ravishing beauty, and I 
perceived that the more I looked at it, the deeper were the 
dispositions of childhood impressed on me. One cannot 
believe the trouble I had to allow myself to pass to this 
state of childhood, for my reason was lost in it, and it 
seemed to me that it was I who gave myself this state. 
When I reflected, it was taken away, and I experienced 
an intolerable pain ; but as soon as I allowed myself to go 

128 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

into it, I found myself with the candour, the innocence 
and simplicity of a child, something divine within. I 
have committed many infidelities to this state, not being 
able to bring myself down to a state so low and so small. 
Love, you desired to place me in all sorts of positions 
in order that I should resist no longer, and should be 
subject to all your wishes without reflection or reserve. 
While I still was at Verceil I had a movement to write to 

Madame de C . It was some years since she had ceased 

writing to me. Our Lord made me to know her disposi- 
tion, and that he would make use of me to help her. I 
asked Father La Combe if he would approve of my writing 
to her, telling him of the movement I had ; but he did 
not wish it. I remained submissive, and at the same time 
assured that our Lord would unite us, and would provide 
me one way or another with the means of serving her. 
Some time after I received a letter from her, which not a 
little surprised Father La Combe, and he then left me free 
to write to her whatever I wished. I did it with great 
simplicity, and what I wrote was like the first foundation 
of what our Lord desired of her, having willed to use me 
afterwards to help her, and to cause her to enter into 
his ways ; for she is a soul to whom I am closely tied, and 
through her to others. 



The Father-General of the Bernabites, the friend of the 
Bishop of Verceil, died. As soon as he was dead Father 
La Mothe wrote to the person who was Vicar-General, and 
who held his place until a new election. He told him the 
same things he had told the other, and the necessity there 
was to have at Paris men like Father La Combe ; that 
he had no one to preach the annual sermon in their church. 
This worthy Father, who believed Father La Mothe was 
acting in good faith, having learned that I was obliged to 
return to France owing to my indisposition, sent an order 
to Father La Combe to go to Paris, and to accompany me 
the whole journey. Father La Mothe having asked him to 
do so, on the ground that as he would accompany me, 
their House at Paris, which was already poor, would be 
saved the expenses of such a long journey. Father La 
Combe, who did not penetrate the venom concealed under 
this fair appearance, consented to accompany me, knowing 
that it was my custom to take with me ecclesiastics or 
monks. Father La Combe set out twelve days before me, 
in order to attend to some matters of business, and to 
accompany me only at the crossing of the mountains, 
which appeared to him the place where I had most need 
of escort. I set out in Lent, the weather being very fine, 
to the grief of the Prelate, who excited my compassion by 
the trouble he was in at losing Father La Combe, and 


130 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

seeing me go away. He had me taken at his expense to 
Turin, giving me a gentleman and one of his ecclesiastics 
to accompany me. 

As soon as the resolution was taken that Father La 
Combe should accompany me, Father La Mothe at once 
set going everywhere the story that he had been obliged to 
do it, in order to make me return to France ; although he 
knew very well that I was intending to return before we 
knew that Father La Combe would return. He exaggerated 
the attachment I had for him, making himself out a 
subject of pity; and on this every one said that I ought 
to put myself under the direction of Father La Mothe. 
However, he dissimulated towards us, writing to Father La 
Combe letters full of esteem and of tenderness to me, 
praying him to bring his dear sister, and to serve her in 
her infirmity on such a long journey, and that he would be 
deeply obliged for his care, and a hundred similar things. 

I could not bring my mind to leave without going to 
see my friend the Marquise de Prunai, notwithstanding the 
difficulty of the journey. I had myself carried, for it is 
impossible to go there otherwise, except on horseback, 
owing to the mountains, and I could not go in that way. I 
spent twelve days with her. I arrived exactly the Eve of 
the Annunciation, and as all her tenderness is for the 
mystery of the childhood of Jesus Christ, and she knew the 
part our Lord gave me in it, she received extreme joy at 
seeing me arrive to spend that festival with her. Nothing 
could be more cordial than what passed between us with 
much openness. It was then she told me that all I had 
said to her had happened, and a worthy ecclesiastic who 
lived with her, a very holy man, told me the same. We 
together made ointments, and I gave her the secret of my 
remedies. I encouraged her, and so did Father La Combe, 
to establish a hospital in that place, which she did while 
we were there. I gave the little contribution of the Ploly 
Child Jesus, who has always made successful all the 


hospitals "W'bich have been established in reliance on 
providence. I think I forgot to say that our Lord also 
made use of me to establish a hospital near Grenoble, 
which subsists without other capital than providence. My 
enemies have made use of this subsequently to calumniate 
me, saying that I had spent my children's property in 
establishing hospitals ; although the truth is, that, far 
from having expended their money, I had even given them 
my own, and that these hospitals have been established 
merely on the capital of divine providence, which is 
inexhaustible. But our Lord has had this goodness for me, 
that all he has ever made me do for his glory is always 
turned into a cross. I have forgotten to speak in detail of 
many crosses and illnesses, but there are so many some 
must be kept back. In the illnesses I had at Verceil I had 
still the same dependence on Father La Combe, owing to 
my state of childhood, with the impression of these words : 
" And he was subject to them." It was that state of Jesus 
Christ which was then impressed on me. 

As soon as it was determined that I should come into 
France, our Lord made me know that it was in order to 
have there the greatest crosses I had ever yet had, and 
Father La Combe also had knowledge of it ; but he said to 
me, that I must immolate myself to all the divine wishes 
and anew be a victim immolated to new sacrifices. He 
wrote to me: "Would it not be a fine thing, and very 
glorious to God, if he desired to make us in that great city 
serve as a spectacle to men and angels ! " I set out, then, 
on my return with a spirit of sacrifice, to immolate myself 
to new kinds of sufferings. All along the road something 
within said to me the same words as St. Paul : " I go up 
to Jerusalem, and the Spirit tells me everywhere that 
crosses and chains await me." I could not prevent myself 
from expressing it to my most intimate friends, who used 
their efforts to stay me on the road. They even wished all 
to contribute of what they had to stop me and prevent ray 

132 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

going to Paris, in the belief that the presentiment I had 
was very true. But I had to go on and come there to 
immolate myself for him who first immolated himself. 

At Chambery we saw Father La Mothe, who was going to 
the election of a General. Although he affected friendship, 
it was not difficult to see that his thoughts were other than 
his words, and that he had formed in his mind the design 
of destroying us. I speak of the behaviour of this Father 
only in obedience to the command which has been laid 
upon me to omit nothing. I shall be obliged, in spite of 
myself, to speak often of him. With all my heart I would 
gladly suppress what I have to say. If what he has 
done regarded only myself, I would willingly suppress it ; 
but I think it a duty I owe to truth and the innocence of 
Father La Combe, who has so long been grievously 
oppressed and overwhelmed by calumny and by an im- 
prisonment of many years, which according to all appear- 
ance will continue as long as his life. I feel myself, I say, 
obliged to expose all the artifices made use of to blacken 
him and render him odious, and the motives which have 
led Father La Mothe to adopt such a course. Although 
Father La Mothe appears heavily charged in what I say of 
him, I protest before God that I yet omit many facts. 

I saw, then, very clearly his design. Father La Combe 
also remarked it, but he was resolved to sacrifice himself 
and to immolate me to all which he believed the will of 
God. Some even of my friends informed me that Father 
La Mothe had evil designs, but yet they did not imagine 
them so extreme as they were in reality. They thought 
he would send away Father La Combe after having made 
him preach, and that for this purpose he would get him 
into trouble. At Chambery it was interiorly said to Father 
La Combe, in the same way as it had been told him that 
we should be together, that " we should be separated." 
We separated at Chambery. Father La Mothe went to the 
Chapter after begging Father La Combe with affected 


urgency every day not to leave me, but to accompany me 
as far as Paris. Father La Combe asked his permission 
to leave me alone at Grenoble, because he was very desirous 
of going to Tonon to see his family, and he expected to 
rejoin me at Grenoble after three weeks. It was with 
difficulty this was granted, such was the affectation of 

I set out for Grenoble and Father La Combe for Tonon. 
As soon as I arrived I fell ill of a continued fever, which 
lasted fifteen days, when that worthy begging friar had an 
opportunity of practising his charity. He gave me 
remedies, and these, joined to the fever and the change of 
climate, gradually consumed my disease. All those whom 
God had given me on my first visit to Grenoble came to 
see me during my illness, and exhibited extreme joy at 
seeing me again. They showed me the letters and re- 
tractations of that poor impassioned girl, and I did not see 
a person who continued influenced by her stories. The 
Bishop of Grenoble expressed more kindness than ever, 
assured me he had never believed any of them, and even 
offered me to remain in his diocese. They again pressed 
me to remain at the General Hospital, but it was not 
where you wished me, my God; it was upon Calvary. 
Father La Combe and I were so penetrated by the cross 
that everything announced to us Cross. That good girl of 
whom I have spoken, who had seen so much persecution, 
and whom the Devil, so threatened, had many presenti- 
ments of the crosses that were about to pour upon us, 
and she said, "What do you want to go there for, to be 
crucified ? " All along the road souls that were spiritual 
and influenced by grace spoke to us only of crosses, and 
this impression that " chains and persecutions await me " 
never quitted me for a moment. I came then, my Love, 
to sacrifice myself to your hidden will. You know what 
crosses I have had to bear from my relatives. Oh, in 
what ill fame am I ! In spite of all that, you nevertheless 

134 MADAME GUYON. [Part II. 

win souls in every place and at every time; and one 
deems such troubles amply paid should they procure the 
salvation and perfection of a single soul. It is in this 
place that you desired, God, to make a theatre of your 
designs through the cross and the good that you will to do 
to souls. 



Hakdly had I arrived at Paris when it was easy for me 
to discover, by the conduct of the persons, the evil designs 
they had against Father La Combe and against me. 
Father La Mothe, who directed all the tragedy, dissimu- 
lated as much as he could, and in his usual manner, giving 
secret blows and making semblance of flattering whilst he 
was dealing the most dangerous strokes. Through self- 
interest they desired to make me go to Montargis, hoping 
thereby to seize upon the wardship of my children, and to 
dispose of my person and my property. All the persecu- 
tions which have befallen me from the side of Father La 
Mothe and of my family have been solely due to selfish 
motives. Those which have been directed against Father 
La Combe have been only due to the fact that he did not 
oblige me to do what they wished of me, and also to 
jealousy. I might give many particulars on this head 
which would convince everybody, but to avoid tediousness 
I suppress them. I will only say that they threatened to 
deprive me of the fief that I had reserved for myself by my 
deed of settlement. As I never betrayed the sentiments of my 
heart, I replied that I would not litigate, but if they wished 
to take away the little I had reserved for myself, though 
so trifling in comparison with what I had given up, that 


I would yield it cheerfully ; being delighted to be not only 
poor, but in the extremity of want, in imitation of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

After our Lord had made Father La Combe suffer much 
in our union, in order to purify it thoroughly, it became 
80 perfect as to be henceforth an entire unity ; and this in 
such a way that I can no longer distinguish him from God. 
I cannot in detail describe the graces God has given me, 
for everything passes in me in a manner so pure that one 
can tell nothing of it. As nothing falls under the senses, 
nor can be expressed, it must all remain in him, who 
himself communicates himself in himself; as well as an 
infinity of circumstances, which I must leave in God with 
the rest of the crosses. 

What formerly caused my sufferings with Father La 
Combe is that he had not then a knowledge of the total 
nakedness of the soul lost in God, and that having always 
conducted souls in gifts, extraordinary graces of visions, 
revelations, interior speech, and not yet knowing the 
difference that there is between these mediate communica- 
tions and the immediate communication of the Word in 
the soul, which, having no distinction, has also no ex- 
pression, he could not understand a state of which I was 
unable to tell him almost anything. The second thing 
that had been the cause of his troubles was the communi- 
cation in silence, to which he had difficulty in adapting 
himself, desiring to see it by the eyes of reason. But 
when all obstacles had been removed, God, you have 
made of him one same thing with you and one same thing 
with me in a consummation of perfect unity. All that 
which is known, understood, distinguished, and explained 
are mediate communications, but for the immediate 
communication — communication of eternity rather than of 
time, communication of the Word — it has nothing that can 
be expressed, and one can only say of it what St. John has 
said of it : "In the beginning was the Word, and the 


Word was in God, and God was in the Word." The Word 
is in that soul, and that soul is in God by the Word and in 
the Word. It is very important early to accustom one's self 
to get beyond everything that is distinct and perceived, 
and mediate speech, to allow room for the speaking of the 
Word, which is none other than a silence ineffable and yet 

I had arrived at Paris the Eve of St. Magdalen, 1686, 
exactly five years after my departure thence. Shortly 
after his arrival Father La Combe was very much run 
after and applauded for his sermons. I perceived, indeed, 
some little jealousy on the part of Father La Mothe, but I 
did not think that things would go to such a length. 
Doubtless it will be a matter of surprise that the greater 
part of the Bernabites of Paris and the neighbouring 
Houses should join against Father La Combe. There were 
two causes for it. First, the selfish motives and the jealousy 
of Father La Mothe, which made him invent all sorts of 
artifices. He told them all that in ruining Father La 
Combe they would have a pretext for shaking off the yoke 
of the Savoyards ; for it should be known that every six 
years the Bernabites had a Savoyard as Provincial. This, 
he said, was an insult to the French nation. They all 
fell in with it, and for this purpose betrayed their brother, 
without, however, obtaining what they desired, except for 
a few years ; for, as a fact, they have at present a Savoyard 
as Provincial. The second reason was the special jealousy 
of their Provincial, who, owing to a Lent service taken 
away from one of his friends and given to Father La 
Combe, became his enemy, though previously his friend. 
That united the interests of the Provincial and of Father 
La Mothe. 

This latter pushed artifice so far as to say that Father 
La Combe had accompanied me from Turin to Paris 
without entering their Houses, and that he remained in 
the inn with me to the great scandal of their Order. He 


did not tell them that there was no convent of their Order 
on the route ; but, on the contrary, he made it to be under- 
stood that there were, and that it was to the shame of these 
Houses that he had not been there. Who would not have 
believed a calumny told with such art ? This began to 
stir up every one against me ; but the excellent sermons 
of Father La Combe and his success in the conduct of 
souls, counterbalanced these calumnies. 

I had deposited a small sum with Father La Combe (his 
superiors permitting), which I destined for the dowry of a 
girl professing as a nun. I thought I was bound in con- 
science, for owing to me she had left the New Catholics. 
She is the young woman of whom I have spoken, that the 
priest of Gex tried to gain over. As she is beautiful, 
although extremely discreet, there is always ground for 
fear when one is exposed without any fixed settlement. 
I had then assigned this moderate sum for that worthy girl. 
Father La Mothe desired to have it, and made Father La 
Combe understand that if he did not cause me to give it for 
a wall that he wished to rebuild in his convent, they would 
get him into trouble. But Father La Combe, always 
upright, said that he could not conscientiously advise me 
to do anything else than what he knew I had resolved to 
do in favour of the girl. All this, joined to jealousy at the 
success of Father La Combe's sermons, made him de- 
termine to unite with the Provincial, and to betray Father 
La Combe to satisfy the grudge of each. 

They no longer thought except of the means to arrive at 
their end, and to do it successfully they sent to confession 
to Father La Combe a man and a woman who were united 
in practising all sorts of villainy with impunity, and 
persecuting God's servants. I believe there never were 
such artifices as theirs. The man writes all kinds of 
hands, and is ready to execute an3rthing one desires. They 
pretended devotion, and amongst so great a number of 
worthy souls who came from all parts to Father La Combe 


for confession, he never discerned those devilish spirits, 
God so permitting it, because he had given power to the 
Devil to treat him like Job. 

Previous to this, when I was alone in my room on my 
knees before an image of the Child Jesus, where I usually 
prayed, suddenly I was, as it were, cast back from this 
image, and sent to the Crucifix : all that I had of the state 
of childhood was taken away from me, and I found myself 
bound anew with Jesus Christ Crucified. To tell what this 
bond is would be very difficult for me, for it is not a 
devotion, as is commonly supposed. It is no longer a state 
of suffering by conformity with Jesus Christ ; but it is the 
same Jesus Christ borne very purely and nakedly in his 
states. What passed in this new union of love to that 
Divine Object he alone knows ; but I understood it was no 
longer a question for me of bearing him, the Child, or in 
his states of nakedness : that I must bear him Crucified ; 
and it was the last of all his states. For in the commence- 
ment I had indeed borne crosses, as may be seen in the 
narrative of my life, which is quite full of them ; but they 
were my own crosses, borne through conformity with Jesus 
Christ. Then, my state becoming more profound, it was 
given me to bear the states of Jesus Christ, which I have 
borne in the middle of my life in nakedness and crosses. 
And whilst one bears in this manner the states of Jesus 
Christ one does not think on Jesus Christ — he is then re- 
moved ; and even from the commencement of the path of 
faith one has him no longer thus objectively. But the state 
I am now speaking of is quite different ; it is of a vastness 
almost infinite, and few souls bear him in this way. It is 
to bear Jesus Christ himself in his states. Only experience 
can make intelligible what I wish to say. At this time these 
words were impressed upon me : "He has been numbered 
among the malefactors ; " and it was put into my mind that 
I must bear Jesus Christ in this state in all its extent. 
God, if there has not been enough of insult and ignominy 


complete, finish me by the last punishment ! All that 
comes from you -will be sweet to me. Your arm is raised. 
I await the blows from moment to moment. ** Let him who 
has commenced, finish ; and let me have this consolation, 
that in torturing me cruelly he does not spare me." I am 
fit only to suffer, and to suffer insults ; it is the contract of 
our sacred marriage — it is my dowry, O my Love ! You 
have been liberal of it in the case of your servant. 

At this period I received a letter from Father La 
Combe, who wrote me in these terms : " The weather is 
very lowering " (speaking of Father La Mothe's humour 
towards him). " I do not know when the thunderbolts 
will fall, but all will be welcome from the hand of God." 
Meantime the husband of this wicked creature who 
counterfeited the saint ceased coming to confession to 
Father La Combe, in order the better to play his game. 
He sent his wife, who said she was very sorry for her 
husband having left this Father ; that her husband was a 
fickle man ; that she did not resemble him. She counter- 
feited the saint, saying that God revealed to her future 
events, and that he was about to have great persecutions. 
It was not difficult for her to know this, since she plotted 
them with Father La Mothe, the Provincial, and her 

During this time I went to the country to the Duchess 

of C . Many extraordinary things happened to me, 

and God gave me great graces for my neighbour : it 
seemed as if he desired to dispose me thereby for the cross. 
Many persons of those whom our Lord caused me to 
spiritually help, and who were my spiritual children, were 
there. I was given a strong instinct of communicating 
myself to them in silence, and as they were not prepared 
for this and it was a thing unknown to them, I knew not 
how to tell them. In this I was wanting in fidelity to God 
through natural timidity. A passage of Scripture was 
read, and explained in a manner quite different from the 


understanding of it that was given to me, and this caused 
in me such a contrariety (because, owing to the presence of 
certain persons, whose constraint I felt, I dared not speak) 
that they had to unlace me. In the afternoon I had an 

opportunity of speaking to Father G and two other 

persons, and this was a relief to me. I have, besides, at 
different times had other plenitudes, which made me suffer 
much, and oftentimes I discharged them upon my best 
disposed children, though they were absent, and I felt that 
there was an outflow from me into their souls ; and after- 
wards, when they wrote to me, they mentioned that at such 
a time much grace had been communicated to them. Our 
Lord had also given me a certain spirit of truth, which I 
called the spirit of the Word, which ** causes one to reject 
the evil and to choose the good." When, in a sermon or 
discourse, any things about devotion, or pious thoughts, or 
probable opinions on any matter, or sentiments as to the 
Holy Virgin or the Saints, were advanced, I felt in me a 
something which rejected at once what was merely human 
opinion, and accepted the pure truth : this was without 
attention or reflection. 

Father La Combe wrote to me while I was in the 
country that he had found an admirable soul (meaning 
that woman who counterfeited the saint), and mentioned 
certain circumstances which made me apprehensive for 
him. However, as our Lord gave me nothing special on 
the subject — and, besides, I feared that if I told him my 
thoughts it would be ill taken, as at other times ; and as 
our Lord did not urge me to say anything (for if he had 
required it of me, at any cost I would have done it), I wrote 
to him that I abandoned him to God for that as for the 

While this woman was counterfeiting the saint, and 
exhibiting great affection and esteem for Father La Combe, 
her husband, who imitated all kinds of writing, was induced 
(evidently by the enemies of Father La Combe, as the 


sequel has shown) to write defamatory Hbels, to which they 
attached the propositions of MoHnos, which for two years 
were circulating in France, and said these were the senti- 
ments of Father La Combe. They had them carried 
everywhere amongst the Communities, and Father La 
Mothe and the Provincial, who was more tricky, caused 
these libels to be sent back to themselves ; then assuming 
the role of persons much attached to the Church, they 
themselves carried these libels to the Official, who was in 
their plot, and brought them to the notice of the Arch- 
bishop. They said that zeal urged them, and that they 
were in despair that one of their monks should be heretic 
and execrable. They also slightly mixed me up in the 
matter, saying that Father La Combe was always at my 
house. This was utterly false, for I could hardly see him, 
except at the confessional, and then only for a moment. 
They renewed their old calumnies about the journeys, and 
went from house to house among honourable families, 
saying that I had been on horseback behind Father La 
Combe — I, who was never so in my life ! — that he had not 
been to their Houses along the road, but that he remained 
at the inn. 

Previous to this I had had many mysterious dreams, 
which told me all this. They bethought them of one 
matter which favoured their enterprise. They knew that I 
had been to Marseilles ; they thought they had discovered 
a good foundation for a calumny. They forged a letter 
from a person of Marseilles (I even believe I heard it said, 
from the Bishop of Marseilles), addressed to the Archbishop 
of Paris, or to his Official, in which they stated that at 
Marseilles I had slept in the same room with Father La 
Combe ; that there he had eaten meat in Lent and behaved 
very scandalously. This letter was carried, this calumny 
was retailed everywhere, and after having circulated it, 
Father La Mothe and the Provincial, who had concocted it 
together, resolved to tell it to me. Father La Mothe came 

Chap. 1] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 143 

to see me, apparently to make me fall into the trap and to 
make me say in the presence of people he had brought with 
him, that I had been to Marseilles with Father La Combe. 
He said to me, " There are horrible stories against you sent 
by the Bishop of Marseilles, that you have there committed 
frightful scandals with Father La Combe ; there are good 
witnesses of it." I began to smile, and said to him, ** The 
calumny is well imagined, but it ought to have been first 
ascertained if Father La Combe had been to Marseilles, for 
I do not believe that he has ever been there in his life ; 
and when I passed through it was Lent. I was with such 
and such persons and Father La Combe was preaching the 
Lent sermons at Verceil." He was dumbfounded, and with- 
drew, saying, ** There are, however, witnesses that it is 
true ; " and he went immediately to ask Father La Combe if 
he had not been at Marseilles. He assured him he had 
never been in Provence, nor further than Lyons and the 
road from Savoy to France ; so that they were somewhat 
taken aback. But they devised another expedient. Those 
who could not know that Father La Combe had never 
been to Marseilles, they left in the belief that it was 
Marseilles, and to the others they said that it was Seissel 
in the letter. This Seissel is a place where I have never 
been, and where there is no bishop. 

Father La Mothe and the Provincial carried from house 
to house the libels and those propositions of Molinos, 
saying they were the errors of Father La Combe. All this 
did not prevent Father La Combe from making a wonder- 
ful harvest by his sermons and at the confessional. From 
all sides people came to him. It was gall to them. 

The Provincial had just held his Visitation, and had 
passed quite close to Savoy without going there ; because 
he did not wish, he said, to hold the Visitation that year. 
They plotted together. Father La Mothe and he, to go 
there in order to collect some reports against Father La 
Combe and against me, and to gratify the Bishop of 


Geneva, whom they knew to be very bitter against me and 
against Father La Combe, for the reasons I have 
mentioned. The Provincial set out, then, immediately on 
his return from the Visitation of Provence, to go into 
Savoy, and gave orders to Father La Mothe to do every- 
thing he could to ruin Father La Combe. 

They plotted with the Official, a man skilful and clever 
in this sort of affair ; but as it would have been very 
difficult to mix me up in the business, they instigated that 
woman to ask to see me. She told Father La Combe that 
God made known to her admirable things of me, that she 
had an inconceivable love for me, and wished very much to 
see me. As besides she said she was very much in want. 
Father La Combe sent her to me to give her something in 
charity. I gave her a half louis-d'or. At first she did not 
strike me in her true character ; but after half an hour's 
conversation with her, I had a horror of her. I hid it 
from myself, for the reasons I have mentioned. Some days 
from that — three days after, I think — she came to ask me for 
the means of getting herself bled. I told her that I had a 
maid very skilful at bleeding, and if she wished I would 
have her bled. She indignantly refused, and said she was 
not a person to allow herself to be bled by any one but a 
surgeon. I gave her fifteen sous. She took them with a 
scorn which made me see she was not what Father La 
Combe believed her. She immediately went and threw 
the fifteen-sous piece before Father La Combe, asking if 
she were a person to be given fifteen sous. The Father 
was surprised ; but as in the evening she had learned from 
her husband that it was not time for breaking out, but for 
feigning, she went to see Father La Combe, asked his 
pardon, and said it was a strong temptation that had made 
her act so, and that she asked back the fifteen sous-piece. 
He told me nothing of all this, but several nights I suffered 
strangely owing to this woman. In sleep sometimes I saw 
the Devil, then suddenly I saw this woman ; sometimes it 


was the one, sometimes it was the other. This made me 
wake with a start. For three nights I was thus, with a 
certainty that she was a wicked woman who counterfeited 
devotion to deceive and to injure. I told it to Father La 
Combe, and he reprimanded me very severely, saying it was 
my imagination, that I was wanting in charity, that this 
woman was a saint. I therefore kept quiet. I was very 
much astonished when a virtuous girl, whom I did not 
know, came to see me, and told me that she felt bound to 
warn me, knowing that I was interested in Father La 
Combe, that he confessed a woman who was deceiving him ; 
that she knew her thoroughly, and she was, perhaps, the 
most wicked and the most dangerous woman in Paris. 
She related to me strange things this woman had done and 
thefts committed at Paris. I told her to declare it to 
Father La Combe. She said that she had told him some- 
thing of it ; but that he made her acknowledge it as a fault 
in confession, on the ground that she was uncharitable, so 
that she no longer knew what to do. That woman was over- 
heard in a shop speaking evil of Father La Combe. It was 
told to him, but he would not believe it. She sometimes came 
to my house. I, who am without natm*al antipathy, had such 
a violent one, and even such horror for this creature, that 
the force I put upon myself to see her, in obedience to 
Father La Combe, made me turn so extraordinarily pale, 
that my servants perceived it. Among others, a very 
worthy girl — she who made me suffer so much for her 
purification — felt for her the same horror that I felt. 
Father La Combe was again warned that there was one of 
his penitents who went about decrying him to all the 
confessors, and saying execrable things of him. He wrote 
them to me, and told me at the same time that I should 
not imagine it was this woman ; that it was not she. I 
was perfectly certain it was the same. Another time she 
came to my house ; the Father was there. She told him 
something of the intimations she bad that he was about to 



have great crosses. I had an immediate conviction that it 
was she who was causing them. I told it to Father La 
Combe; but he would not believe me, our Lord so 
permitting it, to render him like to himself. One thing 
which seemed extraordinary, is that Father La Combe, so 
soft and so credulous to any other who did not tell him the 
truth, was not at all so for me. He himself was astonished 
at it, yet I am not astonished, because in God's con- 
ducting of me my nearest are those who crucify me the 



One day a monk, at one time my confessor, to whom this 
woman went to retail her calumnies, sent to ask me to 
come and see him. He related to me all that she had told 
him, and the lies in which he had detected her. As for me, 
I continually detected her in falsehood. I at once told 
Father La Combe. He was suddenly enlightened, and, 
as if scales had fallen from his eyes, he no longer doubted 
the villainy of this woman. The more he recalled what 
he had seen in her, and what she had said to him, the 
more convinced he was of her villainy, and avowed to me 
there must be something diabolic in the woman to enable 
her to pass as a saint. As soon as I returned home she 
came to see me. I gave orders not to let her in. She 
wanted me to give her alms, to pay for the hire of her 
house. I was very ill that day, and in consequence of an 
excessive thirst my body was swollen. One of my maids 
told her plainly that I was ill, that they were alarmed 
because I had been dropsical, and that for two days I had 
been swollen. She wanted to enter in spite of the maid, 
when the one who knew something of her villainies came 
to prevent her, and told her that nobody could speak with 
me. She wrangled with them, but they patiently bore it. 
She straightway went to see the Superior of the Premontres 
and retailed to him frightful calumnies. She said that I 
was pregnant. This man, who hardly knew me, believed 


her, and sent for my daughter's maid whom he had given 
me. He told her this frightful calumny. She, who per- 
fectly knew the thing was impossible, said to him, " My 
Father, by whom ? she never sees a man, and she is very 
virtuous." This astonished him. She told me of it. 
That wretched creature went everywhere retailing the 
same story, thinking that I should be a long time swollen, 
and it would be easy for her to make it believed ; but as 
the swelling passed away in a couple of days, owing to a 
trifling remedy, this calumny had no consequence. Besides, 
they knew that if they had recourse to calumny they must 
reckon with secular judges, and they would find it a bad 
bargain. They determined therefore to attack me also in 
the matter of faith, in order to throw me into the hands of 
the Official, and that by means of a little book, entitled 
" Short Method, etc.," to which my name did not appear, 
and which had been approved by doctors of the Sorbonne 
appointed for that purpose at Lyons and also at Grenoble. 
But before tmrning to myself, I must tell how they went to 

Father La Mothe came to see me, and said that at the 
Archbishop's office there were frightful reports against 
Father La Combe, that he was a heretic and a friend of 
Molinos. I, who well knew he had no acquaintance with 
Molinos, assured him of this (for at the commencement 
I could not believe Father La Mothe was acting in bad 
faith, and that he was in concert with that woman). I 
further said to him, that I knew he had great power with 
the Archbishop, and I begged him to take Father La 
Combe there, that, as soon as the Archbishop had spoken 
to him, he would be undeceived. He promised he would 
next day, but he took very good care not to do so. I told 
him of the villainy of this woman, and what she had done 
to me. He coldly answered that she was a saint. It was 
then I commenced to discover that they were acting in 
concert, and I saw myself reduced to say with David, 


" If my enemy had done this to me, I should not be sur- 
prised, but my nearest ! " It was that which rendered 
these calumnies more hard and the whole matter more 

I went to see Father La Combe at the confessional, and 
told him what Father La Mothe had said to me, and that 
he should ask to be taken to the Archbishop by him. He 
went to Father La Mothe, who said that he would take 
him to the Archbishop, but there was no hurry ; that the 
reports were not against him, but against me : and for 
nearly a month he played see-saw with us, saying to Father 
La Combe that the reports were not against him but against 
me, and to me that they were against him, and that I was 
not mentioned in them. Father La Combe and I were 
confounded when we spoke of all these things and this 
deceit. Nevertheless Father La Combe preached and heard 
confession with more applause than ever, and this aug- 
mented the vexation and jealousy of those people. Father 
La Mothe went for two days into the country, and Father 
La Combe, being senior, remained as Superior in his absence. 
I told him to go to the Archbishop, and to take the opportu- 
nity when Father La Mothe was not there. He answered me 
that Father La Mothe had told him not to leave the House 
during his absence ; that he saw clearly that it would be 
very necessary for him to see the Archbishop, and that 
perhaps he would never have this opportunity again ; but 
that he wished to die observing his obedience, and, since 
his Superior had told him to remain in his absence, he would 
do so. It was merely to prevent his going to the Arch- 
bishop, and making him acquainted with the truth, that 
this had been said to him. 

There was a doctor of the Sorbonne, Monsieur Bureau, 
who came to see me two or three times, on the occasion of 
a visit from the Abbe de Gaumont, a man of wonderful 
purity, nearly eighty years of age, who has passed all 
his life in retreat, without directing, preaching, or hearing 


confession : he bad known me formerly, and brought 
Monsieur Bureau to see me. Against this latter Father 
La Mothe was indignant, because one of his penitents, 
who had left him, had been to see Monsieur Bureau, who 
is a very honourable man. With reference to him. Father 
La Mothe said to me, "You see Monsieur Bureau; I do 
not wish it." I asked him the reason, telling him that 
I had not been to seek him, but that he had come to 
see me, and that rarely; that I did not think it proper 
to turn him out of my house, that he was a man in high 
repute. He told me that he had done him a wrong. I 
wished to know what this wrong was. I learned it was 
because that penitent, who had given much to Father La 
Mothe and had left him only because he was grasping, had 
been to Monsieur Bureau. I did not deem this reason 
BuflQcient to alienate a man who had done me service, and 
to whom I was under obligation, and who was, besides, a 
true servant of God. Father La Mothe himself went to 
the Official's office to depose that I held assemblies with 
Monsieur de Gaumont and Monsieur Bureau ; that he had 
even broken up one of them — an utter falsehood. He said 
it also to others, who repeated it to me ; so that I learned 
it from the Official and from others. He further accused 
me of many other things. Without any regular process they 
attacked Monsieur Bureau, the Official being delighted to 
have this opportunity of illtreating a man whom he had 
hated for a long time. They set to work the scribe, husband 
of that wicked woman, against Monsieur Bureau, and in a 
short time there were counterfeit letters from Superiors of 
religious Houses where Monsieur Bureau directed and heard 
confession, who wrote to the Official, that Monsieur Bureau 
preached and taught errors, and introduced trouble into the 
religious Houses. It was not difficult for Monsieur Bureau 
to prove the falseness of these letters, for the Superiors 
disavowed them. Madame de Miramion, friend of Monsieur 
BureAu, herself proved their falsity ; yet, far from doing 


justice to Monsieur Bureau, they made His Majesty believe 
he was guilty, and exiled him, as I shall tell hereafter, 
abusing the King's zeal for religion by making his au- 
thority subservient to the passion of these people. 

One day Father La Mothe came to me, and said it was 
absolutely true that there were horrible reports against 
Father La Combe, and insinuated that I should get hira 
to withdraw, hoping thereby to make him appear guilty ; 
for it was hard to find the means of ruining him, because, 
whether they judged him themselves, or sent him to their 
General, the latter would have knowledge of everything, 
and the innocence of Father La Combe, as well as the 
wickedness of the others, would have been known. They 
were very much embarrassed to discover something. I 
said to Father La Mothe, that if Father La Combe was 
guilty he should be punished (I spoke very boldly, knowing 
thoroughly his innocence), and therefore there was nothing 
for him to do but to wait in patience what God would 
bring about ; that, for the rest, he ought to have taken him 
to the Archbishop to let his innocence be seen. I even 
asked him to do this with all the urgency I could. Father 
La Combe on his side besought him to let him go, if he 
was unwilling to take him. He always said he would take 
him to-morrow or some other day ; then he had business 
to prevent him ; and yet he many times went there by 

Seeing that Father La Combe patiently waited his evil 
fortune, and not having yet discovered the last expedient, 
by which they have succeeded in ruining him. Father La 
Mothe raised the mask. He sent to warn me at church, 
where I was, to come and speak to him, and, having 
brought with him Father La Combe, he said to me, in his 
presence, " My sister, it is you who now must think of 
flying : there are against you execrable reports ; you are 
accused of crimes that make one shudder." I was no more 
moved, nor confused by it, than if he had told me an idle tale 


that in no way touched me. With my ordinary calmness 
I said to him, " If I have committed the crimes of which 
you speak I could not be too severely punished, and 
therefore I am far from desiring to fly ; for if, after having 
all my life professed to be in an especial manner devoted to 
God, I made use of piety to offend him— him that I would 
give my life to love and to make loved by others — it is 
right that I should serve as an example, and that I should 
be punished with the utmost rigour : but if I am innocent, 
flying is not the means to make it believed." Their 
design was to incriminate Father La Combe by my flight, 
and to make me go to Montargis as they had planned. 

When he saw that, far from entering into his proposal, I 
remained unmoved, and firm in the determination to suffer 
everything rather than fly, he said to me, quite in anger, 
" Since you will not do what I tell you, I will go and 
inform the family " (meaning that of my children's guardian) 
"in order that it may compel you to do it." I said to him 
that I had told nothing of all this to my children's 
guardian, nor to his family, and that it would surprise 
them ; that I begged him to allow me to go the first to 
speak to them, or at least to consent that we should go 
together. He agreed that we should go together next 
day. As soon as I had left him, our Lord, desiring me to 
see the whole conduct of this affair, in order that I might 
not remain ignorant of it (for our Lord has not permitted 
anything to escape me, not that I should cherish a grudge 
against any one, since I have never felt the least bitterness 
against my persecutors — but, in fine, that nothing should 
be hid from me, and that in suffering everything for his 
love, I should make a faithful relation of it) — our Lord, I 
say, at once inspired me, suggesting that Father La Mothe 
was hurrying off to prejudice the family against me, and 
tell them whatever he pleased. I sent my footman to run 
and see if my suspicion was true, and to get a carriage for 
me to go there myself. Father La Mothe was already 

Chap. 11.] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 153 

there before me. When he knew I had discovered he was 
there, he became so furious he could not prevent its 
appearing, and, as soon as he had returned to the convent, 
he discharged his vexation on poor Father La Combe. He 
had not found the guardian of my children ; but he had 
spoken to his sister, the wife of a Maitre des Comptes, a 
person of merit. When he told her that I was accused of 
frightful crimes, that they must induce me to fly, she 
replied, "If Madame," meaning me, "has committed the 
crimes you say, I believe I have committed them myself. 
What — a person who has lived as she has lived ! I would 
answer for her with my own life. To make her fly ! Her 
flight is not a matter of indifference, for if she is innocent 
it is to declare her guilty." He added, " It is absolutely 
necessary to make her fly, and it is the sentiment of the 
Archbishop." She asked him where I should fly to. He 
answered, " To Montargis." That aroused her suspicion. 
She told him her brother must be consulted, and that he 
would see the Archbishop. At this he was quite con- 
founded, and begged they would not go to see the Arch- 
bishop ; said he was more interested than any other ; that 
he would himself go there." I arrived just as he had 
left. She told me all this, and I related to her from 
beginning to end all he had said to me. As she is very 
clever, she understood that there was something in it. He 
came back, and contradicted himself many times before us 

The next day, the guardian of my children, having 
ascertained the Archbishop's hour, went there. He found 
Father La Mothe before him, but he had not been able to 
get admitted. When he saw the guardian of my children, 
a Counsellor of Parliament, he was much disturbed; he 
grew pale, then he grew red, and, at last accosting him, he 
begged that he would not speak to the Archbishop — that it 
was his place to do so, and that he would do it. The 
Counsellor remained firm that he would speak to him. 


The Father, seeing he could not prevent it, said, " You 
forget, then, what my sister has done this winter," referring 
to a misunderstanding that he himself had caused. The 
Counsellor very honourably answered him: ** I forget all 
that, in order to remember that I am obliged to serve her 
in a matter of this nature." Seeing that he could gain 
nothing, he besought him that at least he might be the 
first to speak to the Archbishop. This made the Counsellor 
believe he was not acting straightforwardly. H3 said to 
him, "My Father, if the Archbishop calls you the first, 
you will go in the first, otherwise I will go in." "But, 
sir," added he, " I will tell him that you are there." "And 
I," said the Counsellor, " will tell him that you are there." 
Upon that the Archbishop, knowing nothing of this tangle, 
called the Counsellor, who said to him that he was informed 
there were strange reports against me ; that he knew me 
for a long time as a woman of virtue, and that he answered 
for me with his own person ; that if there was anything 
against me it was to him they should address themselves, 
and he would answer for everything. The Archbishop said 
he knew nothing at all about it ; that he had not heard 
mention of me, but of a Father. Upon this the Counsellor 
told him that Father La Mothe had said that his Grace 
had even advised me to fly. The Archbishop said this was 
not true, he had never heard a word about it. Upon which 
the Counsellor asked him if he would consent to cause 
Father La Mothe to be called to say this to him. He was 
brought in, and the Archbishop asked him where he had 
picked up that ; as for himself, he had never heard a word 
about it. Father La Mothe defended himself very badly, 
and said he had it from the Father Provincial. On leaving 
the Archbishop's he was quite furious, and came to look 
for Father La Combe to discharge his anger, telling him 
they should repent of the afi"ront put upon him, and that 
he would find means to make them repent. 



Some days after, having consulted with Monsieur Charon, 
the Official, they discovered the means of ruining Father 
La Combe. Since I had been unwilling to fly, it was what 
seemed the most hopeful. They caused His Majesty to be 
informed that Father La Combe was a friend of Molinos, 
and of the same opinions, pretending even, on the evidence 
of the scribe and his wife, that he had committed crimes 
which he had never done ; whereupon His Majesty, 
believing the thing true, with as much justness as kind- 
ness, ordered that Father La Combe should not leave his 
convent, and that the Official should go and inform himself 
as to his opinions and his doctrines. There was never an 
order more equitable than this, but it did not suit the 
enemies of Father La Combe, who well knew it would be 
very easy for him to defend himself against matters so 
false. They concerted a means of withdrawing the affair 
from the cognizance of the General, and interesting His 
Majesty in it. The only one they found was to make him 
appear disobedient to the commands of the King, and, in 
order to succeed (for they well knew the obedience of 
Father La Combe was such that if he knew the order of 
the King he would not contravene it, and their designs 
would come to nothing), they resolved to conceal the order 
from Father La Combe ; so that, going out for some exer- 
cise of charity or obedience, he should appear rebellious. 


Father La Combe preached and heard confession as usual, 
and even gave two sermons, one at the Grand Cordeliers at 
St. Bonaventura, and another at St. Thomas de Villeneuve 
at the Grand Augustinians — sermons which carried away 
everybody. They carefully concealed from him, I say, the 
orders of the King, and plotted with the Official in all that 
they did ; for they could avail nothing in this matter 
unless they were in concert. 

Some days previously Father La Mothe told me that 
the Official was his intimate friend, and in this business 
would not do anything but what was pleasing to him. 
He pretended to make a spiritual retreat in order not to 
absent himself from the House, and the better to accom- 
plish his business, and also to have a pretext for declining 
to serve Father La Combe, and take him to the Archbishop. 
One afternoon news was brought to Father La Combe 
that a horse had passed over the body of one of his 
penitents, and that he must go and take her confession. 
Without delay the Father asked permission from Father 
La Mothe to go and take the woman's confession : it was 
willingly given. Hardly had he set out, when the Official 
arrived. He drew up his proces verbal that he had not 
found Father La Combe ; that he was disobedient to the 
orders of the King (which were never told to him). Quite 
openly they told the Official he was at my house, although 
they well knew the contrary, and that it was more than six 
weeks since he had been there. They informed the Arch- 
bishop that he was constantly at my house ; but, as a single 
exit by the order of his Superior was not sufficient to 
make Father La Combe appear as black to His Majesty 
as they desired to make him appear, it was necessary to 
have other instances. However, Father La Combe, having 
learned that during his absence the Official had come to 
speak to him, resolved on no account to go out. This 
slightly embarrassed them : so they made the Official come 
one morning, and, as soon as he entered, they told Father 


La Combe, who knew not that be was there, to go and say 
Mass. He was surprised, because it was not his turn. No 
sooner had he finished the Mass, than he saw the Official 
leaving. He went to his Superior, and said to him, " My 
Father, is it that they wish to entrap me ? I have just 
seen Monsieur Charon, the Official, leaving." The Superior 
said to him, " He wished to speak to me. I asked him if 
he wished to speak to you; he said ' No.' " Yet that very 
morning there had been drawn up a second proces verbal 
that Father La Combe was not present, that he was again 
disobedient to the orders of the King. The Official came a 
third time. Father La Combe saw him from the window, 
and asked to speak to him. He was not allowed to appear, 
on the ground that the business was with the Superior, and 
that he had not come for Father La Combe. The latter 
came to see me at his confessional, where I was waiting, 
and told me that he much feared a snare ; that the 
Official was there, and they would not let him speak to 
him. A third proces verbal was drawn up, that Father La 
Combe was for a third time disobedient to the orders of 
His Majesty. 

I asked for Father La Mothe, and I said to him that I 
begged him not to behave thus ; that he had told me he 
was very much the friend of the Official, and that assuredly 
they were trying to use stratagem. He said to me coldly, 
"He did not wish to see Father La Combe; he had not 
come for that." I advised Father La Combe to write to 
the Official, and to beg him not to refuse him the favour 
which is not refused to the most guilty — that of hearing 
them ; to do him the kindness to come and ask for him. 
I myself sent the letter by an unknown person. The 
Official said he would go in the afternoon without fail. 
Father La Combe was somewhat troubled at having 
written this letter without the permission of his Superior, 
for he could not believe things were at the point they were : 
he went and told him. As soon as he knew it, he sent two 


monks to the OfiScial, to request him not to come, as the 
event proved. As I passed by, on my way to a house I had 
hired, I met these two monks. I had a suspicion of the 
fact (for our Lord willed I should be witness of all) : I had 
them followed. They went to the house of the Official. I 
felt certain Father La Combe had confided to Father La 
Mothe the letter he had written. I went to see Father La 
Combe, and asked him. He admitted it to me. I told him 
I had met these two monks on the road, and had had them 
followed. We were still speaking when Father La Mothe 
came to say the Official would not come, that things were 
changed. Father La Combe from this saw clearly that the 
affair would be one of simple trickery. 

However, Father La Mothe pretended to be anxious to 
serve him. He said to him, " My Father, I know you 
have attestations of your doctrine from the Inquisition and 
the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the approbation of 
Cardinals for your security. These documents are beyond 
reply, and, since you are approved at Rome, a mere Official 
has nothing to say to you on the subject of doctrine." I 
was still at the Bernabites when Father La Combe went to 
look for those documents, and to draw up a memorial. 
Believing that Father La Mothe was acting in as good faith, 
as he protested, and seeing that he assured me that the 
Official would only do what he pleased, that he was his 
friend, and that he wished to serve Father La Combe, that 
Father in his simplicity believed him, and brought him his 
papers, which were unanswerable on the point of doctrine — 
as to morals, that was not within the province of the Official. 
After Father La Combe had given these necessary papers, 
they were suppressed, and in vain did the poor Father ask 
them back again. Father La Mothe said he had sent 
them to the Official. The Official said he had not received 
them. They were no more heard of. 

On St. Michael's Day, five days before the imprison- 
ment of Father La Combe, 1 was at his confessional. He 


could only say these words to me : "I have so great a 
hunger for disgrace and ignominy I am quite languishing 
from it. I am going to say the Mass ; listen to it, and 
sacrifice me to God, as I myself am going to immolate 
myself to Him." I said to him, " My Father, you will be 
satiated with them." And, in fact, on October 3, 1687, the 
Eve of St. Francis his patron, when at dinner, they came 
to carry him off, to place him with the Fathers of Christian 
Doctrine. During this time his enemies piled falsehood 
upon falsehood, and the Provincial sent for the Abbe 
who had been Grand-Vicar to the Bishop of Verceil and 
dismissed by him. He came express to Paris to make 
false depositions against Father La Combe ; but this waa 
cut short, and served merely as a pretext for putting him 
into the Bastille. The Provincial had brought some un- 
signed reports from Savoy, and boasted everywhere that 
he had the means of putting Father La Combe in the 
Bastille. Li fact, two days afterwards, he was put in the 
Bastille, and although he was found perfectly innocent, and 
they have been unable to support any judgment, they have 
been able to persuade His Majesty that he is a dangerous 
spirit ; therefore, without judging him, he has been shut up 
in a fortress for his life. And when his enemies learned 
that in the first fortress the ofiicers esteemed him and 
treated him kindly, not content with having shut up such 
a servant of God, they have had him removed to a place 
where they believed he would have more to suffer. God, 
who sees all, will render to each according to his works. 
I know by the spirit communication that he is very content 
and abandoned to God. 

After Father La Combe was arrested. Father La Mothe 
was more eager than ever to make me fly. He urged it 
upon all my friends ; he urged it upon me myself, assuring 
me that, 'if I went to Montargis, I should not be involved in 
this business : if I did not go, I should be involved in it. 
He then conceived the notion that, to dispose of me and 


the little that remained to me, and to exculpate himself 
in the eyes of men for thus having handed over Father 
La Combe, it was necessary that he should be my director. 
He skilfully proposed it to me, at the same time holding 
out threats. He added, " You have no confidence in me, 
all Paris knows." I admit this stirred my pity. Some of 
his intimate friends came to see me, and said that, if I con- 
sented to put myself under his direction, I should keep out 
of the trouble. Not content with this, he wrote in all 
directions and to his brothers to lower me in their esteem. 
He so well succeeded that they wrote me the most out- 
rageous letters imaginable, and especially that I should be 
ruined if I did not place myself under Father La Mothe. 
I still have the letters. There is a Father who praj'ed me 
to make a virtue of necessity ; that if I did not put myself 
under his direction I should expect nothing but utter 
discomfiture. There were even some of my friends weak 
enough to advise me to pretend to accept his direction, and 
to deceive him. God, you know how far I am from 
evasions and disguises, and trickery, especially in this 
matter. I replied that I was incapable of treating direction 
as a farce, that my central depth rejected this with a fear- 
ful force. I bore all this with extreme tranquillity, without 
care or anxiety to justify or defend myself, leaving to my 
God to appoint for me what he should please. He 
augmented my peace in proportion as Father La Mothe 
exerted himself to decry me, and this to such a degree I 
dared not show myself; every one cried out against me, and 
regarded me as an infamous character. I bore it all with 
joy, and I said to you, my God, "It is for love of you 
I suffer these reproaches, and that my visage is coverc I with 
confusion " (Ps. xliii. 16). Every one without exception 
cried out against me, save those who were personally 
acquainted with me, who knew how far removed I was 
from these things ; but the others accused me of heresy, 
sacrilege, infamies of every kind, the nature of which I am 


even ignorant of, of hypocrisy, knavery. When I was at 
church I heard people behind me ridiculing me, and once 
I heard priests say that I ought to be thrown out of the 
church. I cannot express how content I was inwardly, 
leaving myself entirely without reserve to God, quite ready 
to suffer the last penalty if such was his will. 

I did not take a step, leaving myself to my God, yet 
Father La Mothe wrote everywhere that I was ruining 
myself through my solicitations for Father La Combe. I 
have never, either for him or for myself, made any 
solicitation. my Love, you know that I wish to owe 
everything to you, and that I expect nothing from any 
creature. It was what I wrote at the commencement to 
one of my friends, who was in a position to serve me 
effectually, that I begged him not to meddle with the 
matter ; that I did not wish it should be said that any 
other but God had " enriched Abraham " — that is to say, 
I wished to owe everything to him. my Love, I desire 
no other safety but what you yourself effect ; to lose all for 
you is my gain ; to gain all without you would be loss for 
me. Although I was in such universal disrepute, God 
did not cease to make use of me to win for him many 
souls, and the more the persecution increased, the more 
children were given to me, on whom our Lord bestowed 
the greatest graces through his insignificant servant. 

There was not a day passed without a new attack on 
me, and sometimes many in the day. Reports were 
brought of what Father La Mothe was saying of me : and 
a Canon of Notre Dame told me that what made the ill he 
said of me so very credible was that he pretended to love 
and esteem me ; he exalted me to the clouds, then he cast 
me down to the abyss. Five or six days after he had said 
that horrible reports against me had been brought to the 
Archbishop, a pious girl went to the scribe Gautier, and, 
not finding him, his little boy of five years of age said to 
her, " There is great news. My papa is gone with papers 



to the Archbishop." In consequence of this, I learned 
that in fact the reports of which Father La Mothe had 
spoken had been carried to the Archbishop after the arrest 
of Father La Combe. 

Father La Mothe, to excuse himself, said to me, " You 
were indeed right in saying that woman was wicked ; it is 
she who has done all this." But our Lord, who wished to 
leave him without excuse, and who did not wish that I 
should be ignorant that these things came from him, so 
permitted that two merchants of Dijon came to Paris. They 
spoke to me of a wicked woman, who had fled from a 
refuge at Dijon, and had come and got married at Paris. 
She had committed thefts at Lyons of the silver of a 
famous confraternity, and was near having her nose cut 
off in some disreputable place. I had heard this woman 
say that she had dwelt at Dijon. I suspected that she 
was the person, and the more so because a worthy gu*l, 
who had seen her at service in a house, assured me that 
she there had committed theft, and changed her name and 
residence. I had a presentiment that this was the person. 
I asked those merchants — who were very honourable men, 
and brought me a letter from the Procurer-General's wife, 
a friend of mine, who is a saint — if they could recognize 
her. They said "Yes." As she gains her livelihood by 
sewing gloves, that devout girl who knew her brought about 
an interview with those merchants. They recognized her 
at once, and told me that they were ready to depose she 
was the person. I could not take up the cause, for I had 
not been attacked, but Father La Combe, I sent to 
Father La Mothe to tell him that I had discovered a 
means of proving both the knavery of this woman, and 
the innocence of Father La Combe : that there were 
merchants who knew her, and were ready to go and 
depose against her before the authorities, after which, a 
thousand witnesses would be found at Dijon. Father La 
Mothe answered me, that he did not wish to mix himself 


up in it. He did indeed wish to mix himself up in betray- 
ing his monk, but not in defending him. I saw thereby 
accomplished all that our Lord had made known to me 
five years before, regarding Father La Combe and me, and 
how he should be sold by his brethren. I even made 
verses on it at the time; for truly it was given me to 
know that he should be a second Joseph, sold by his 
brothers, and the persecution of Father La Mothe was 
shown to me with the same clearness that I have since 
seen it carried out : therefore I could have no doubt of it ; 
for in all that happened, I had an inner certainty that he 
was the mover, and God showed me in a dream how this 
Father was managing matters before I learned it elsewhere. 
Servants of God must not be judged by what their adver- 
saries say of them, nor by the fact that one sees them 
succumb to calumny without any deliverance. Under the 
ancient law, God tried his most cherished servants by the 
greatest afflictions, as, for instance, the holy patriarchs, 
Job and Tobias ; but he lifted them up from their disgrace, 
and seemed to pile upon them wealth and prosperity in pro- 
portion to the pains that they had suffered. But it is not 
the same under the new law, where Jesus Christ our 
legislator and divine model has been willing to expire in 
agonies. God, at the present day, treats his most cherished 
servants in exactly the same manner ; he does not relieve 
them during their life, finding pleasure in seeing them 
expire in crosses, discredit, and confusion ; and he acts in 
this way to render them conformable to his well-beloved 
Son, in whom he has especial pleasure ; so that the con- 
version of an entire people could not be more agreeable 
to the eyes of the Eternal Father than this conformity to 
his Son : and as the greatest glory that God can draw 
from outside himself, is to see his Son expressed in men, 
whom he has created to be his images, the more extent 
this expression has in all its circumstances, and the 
more perfect that resemblance is, the more love and 


complaisance does God also have for those souls. But 
no one places that conformity where it ought to be. It 
is not in the troubles one procures for one's self, but in 
those, whencesoever coming, which are suffered in this 
submission to the wills of God, uniform, in whatever man- 
ner or on whatever subject they may show themselves : 
in that abandonment or renunciation of all that we are in 
order that God may be all things in us ; that he may lead 
us according to his views, and not according to ours, 
which, in general, are entirely opposed : in short, all per- 
fection consists in this entire conformity with Jesus Christ, 
not in striking things of which men make account. Only 
in eternity will it be seen who are the true friends of God. 
Jesus Christ alone is pleasing to him, and nothing is 
pleasing to him but that which bears the character of 
Jesus Christ. 

They still kept pressing me to fly, although the Arch- 
bishop had told me myself not to quit Paris, and they 
wished to incriminate me and Father La Combe also by 
my flight. They did not know how to work to get me into 
the hands of the Official, for if they accused me of crimes 
I must have other judges, and any other judge that might 
have been assigned me would have seen my innocence, 
and the false witnesses would have incurred risk. Yet 
they wished to make me pass for guilty to be master of 
me and shut me up, in order that the truth of this 
business might never be known; and for this purpose it 
was necessary to put me out of the way of ever being able 
to make it heard. They still circulated the same rumour 
of horrible crimes, although the Official assured me there 
was no mention of them, for he feared I should withdraw 
myself from his jurisdiction. They then made known to 
His Majesty that I was a heretic, that I had constant 
correspondence with Molinos — I, who did not know there 
was such a person as Molinos in the world until I learned it 
from the Gazette ; that I had written a dangerous book ; 


and that therefore His Majesty should give a lettre de 
cachet, to place me in a convent, in order that they might 
interrogate me ; that, as I was a dangerous spirit, it was 
necessary I should be shut up under key, out off from all 
intercourse either without or within; that I had held 
assemblies. This they strongly maintained, and therein 
was my greatest crime ; although this was utterly false, 
and I had never held one, nor seen three people at 
the same time. In order to better support the calumny 
about the assemblies, they counterfeited my writing, and 
concocted a letter in which I wrote that I had great 
designs, but that I much feared they would come to 
nothing, owing to the detention of Father La Combe ; 
that I no longer held my assemblies at my own house ; 
that I was too closely watched ; but that I would hold 
them in such and such houses, and in such streets, at 
the houses of persons whom I did not know and never 
heard named. It was on this fictitious letter, which was 
shown to His Majesty, that the order to imprison me was 



They would have executed it two months sooner, but I 
became very ill with excessive pains and fever. It was 
thought I had an abscess in the head, for the pain there 
during five weeks was enough to make me lose my senses ; 
besides this, I had a pain in my chest, and a violent 
cough. Twice I received the Holy Sacrament as for one 
dying. As soon as Father La Mothe knew I was ill, he 
came to see me. I received him in my usual way. He 
asked if I had not some papers ; that I ought to entrust 
them to him, rather than to any one else. I told him that 
I had none. He had learned from one of my friends, who, 
knowing who he was, but not that he was the author of 
this business, told him that he was sending me the attes- 
tation of the Inquisition for Father La Combe, having 
learned that his own had been lost. This attestation was 
a very important document, for they had informed His 
Majesty that Father La Combe had avoided the Inquisi- 

Father La Mothe was very much alarmed to know I 
had this document, and, making use of his ordinary artifice 
and of the opportunity of my extremity, which did not allow 
me the full freedom of my intelligence, owing to excessive 
pain and confusion of my head, he came to see me. He 
assumed the role of the afifectionate and joyous person, 
telling me that Father La Combe's matters were getting 


on very well (though he had just caused him to be put 
into the Bastille) ; that he was on the point of coming out 
victorious, at which he was extremely glad ; that only one 
thing was wanting — that it had been said he had fled from 
the Inquisition, and they needed an attestation of the 
Inquisition : if he had that, he would be set free at once. 
He added, "I know you have one. If you give it to me, 
this will be done." At first I made a difficulty about 
giving it to him, having such good cause for distrust ; 
but he said to me, "What! you wish to cause the ruin 
of that poor Father La Combe, when you might save him, 
and you will cause us this affliction for want of a document 
that you have under your hand." I gave way, and sent 
for this document and placed it in his hands. He immedi- 
ately suppressed it, and said that it was gone astray ; and 
however I urged him to restore it to me, he has never 
done so. As soon as I had given the attestation to Father 
La Mothe, he went out, and the Ambassador of Turin sent 
a page to ask me for this attestation, which he would have 
an opportunity of using to the advantage of Father La 
Combe. I asked him if he had not seen two monks go out 
as he came in. He said, " Yes." I told him I had just 
given it into the hands of the elder. He ran after, and 
asked it from him. Father La Mothe denied that I had 
given it to him, asserting that I had an affection of the 
brain, which made me imagine it. The page came to tell 
me his answer. The persons who were in my room bore 
witness that I had given it to him. It could not be 
recovered from his hands. 

When Father La Mothe saw that he had nothing more 
to fear from this quarter, he no longer observed any 
measure in insulting me, dying as I was. There was 
hardly an hour passed that they did not put upon me new 
insults. They told me that they were only waiting for my 
recovery, to imprison me. He wrote still more strongly 
against me to his brothers, informing them that I 

168 MADAME GUYON. [Part 111. 

persecuted him. I wondered at the injustice of creatures. 
I was alone, deprived of everything, seeing nobody ; for 
since the imprisonment of Father La Combe, my friends 
were ashamed of me ; my enemies triumphed ; I was 
abandoned and generally oppressed by all the world. On 
the other hand, Father La Mothe, in credit, applauded by 
all, doing what he pleased, and oppressing me in the most 
extraordinary manner ; and he complains I illtreat him at 
the very time I am at the gates of death ! He is believed, 
and I, who do not utter a word and preserve silence, am 
illtreated. His brothers wrote to me all in concert — one, 
that it was for my crimes I suffered ; that I should place 
myself under the direction of Father'La Mothe, or I should 
repent of it : and with that he said to me the most insulting 
things of Father La Combe. The other told me that I 
was mad, and must be tied ; lethargic, and must be roused 
up. The first wrote to me again that I was a monster of 
pride and such like, since I was unwilling to be cleansed, 
directed, and corrected by Father La Mothe : and the other 
let me know that I wished to be thought innocent while 
I did everything that resembled sin. This was my daily 
fare in the extremity of my ills ; and with this. Father La 
Mothe cried with all his force against me, that I illtreated 
him. To all these insults I opposed only kindness, even 
making him presents. As the royal prophet says : "I 
sought some one to take part in my pain, but I found 
none." My soul continued abandoned to her God, who 
seemed to be joined with creatures to torment her. For 
besides that in all this affair I have never had perceptible 
support nor interior consolation, I might say, with Jesus 
Christ, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? " 
and, in addition, inconceivable bodily pains. I had not a 
friend, nor any corporal relief. I was accused of every 
crime, of infamy, error, sorcery, and sacrilege. It seemed 
to me that I had only one business henceforth, which was 
to be for the rest of my life the plaything of providence ; 


continually tossed about, and after that an eternal victim 
of divine justice. In all this my soul is unresisting, having 
no longer an " own " interest, and unable to desire to be 
anything but what God shall cause her to be, for time and 
for eternity. Let those who read this reflect a little on 
the meaning of a state of this kind, when God appears 
to range himself on the side of creatures ; and, with that, 
a perfect steadfastness which never belies itself. It is 
indeed your work, my God, where the creature avails 

As soon as I was in a condition to have myself carried 
to the Mass in a chair, I was informed that I must speak 
to M. the Theologian. It was a trap arranged between 
Father La Mothe and the Canon, at • whose house I 
lodged, in order to furnish a pretext for arresting me. 
I spoke with much simplicity to that man, who is quite of 

the party of the Jansenists, and whom M. N had 

gained over to torment me. We only spoke of things 
within his grasp, and of which he approved. Nevertheless, 
two days afterwards, it was reported I had declared many 
things and accused many persons ; and they used this to 
exile all the people who displeased them. A great number 
were exiled, who they said had formed assemblies with me. 
They were all persons whom I never saw, whose names 
are unknown to me, and who never knew me. This is 
what has been most painful to me, that they should 
have made use of this invention to exile so many men of 
honour, although they well knew I had no acquaintance 
with them. One person was exiled because he said that 
my little book was good. It is to be remarked that 
nothing has been said to those who have formally approved 
it. Far from condemning the book, it has been reprinted 
since I am a prisoner, and advertised at the Archbishopric 
and throughout all Paris. Yet this book is the pretext 
which has been seized upon to bring me under the juris- 
diction of the Archbishop. The book is sold, is distributed, 


is reprinted, and I am still kept a prisoner. In other 
cases when anything bad is discovered in books, they are 
content to condemn the books and leave the persons at 
liberty. In my case, it is the exact opposite ; my book is 
approved anew, and they detain me a prisoner. The 
same day that all those gentlemen were exiled, a lettre de 
cachet was brought commanding me to go to the convent 
of the Visitation in the Faubourg St. Antoine. I received 
the lettre de cachet with a tranquillity which extremely 
surprised the person who brought it. He could not help 
showing his astonishment, as he had seen the grief of 
those who were only exiled. He was touched even to 
tears, and though he had an order to carry me with him, 
he left me the whole day on my promise, and only prayed 
me in the evening to betake myself to St. Mary. That day 
many of my friends came to see me. I spoke of it only to 
some of them. All that day I had an extraordinary gaiety, 
which astonished those who saw me, and who knew the 
business. I was left free all the day, and they would have 
been very well pleased had I fled ; but our Lord gave me 
quite other sentiments. I could not support myself on 
my legs, for I still had fever every night, and it was not 
yet fifteen days since I had received the Holy Viaticum. 
I could not, I say, stand when I had to sustain so rude a 
shock. I thought that my daughter would be left to me, 
and a maid to attend me. My heart clung the closer to 
my daughter for the trouble she had cost me to rear, and 
that I had endeavoured, with the help of grace, to uproot 
her faults, and to bring her to the disposition of having no 
will, which is the best disposition for a girl of her age : she 
was not twelve years. 



On the 29th of January, 1688, the Eve of St. Francis de 
Sales, I had to go to the convent of the Visitation. As 
soon as I was there it was signified to me that I could not 
have my daughter, nor any one to attend upon me ; that 
I should be a prisoner, confined by myself in a room. This 
was the entertainment I had to restore me in my extreme 
feebleness ; but I keenly felt the separation when they tore 
from me my daughter. I asked that she might be left in 
the same house, and that I would not see her. Not only 
was this refused ; but they had, further, the harshness to 
forbid any news of her being given to me. My trouble 
was that I feared her exposure in the world, and lest she 
should in a moment lose what I had with so much care 
endeavoured to secure to her. From this moment I had 
to sacrifice my daughter as if she no longer belonged to 

They selected the House of the Visitation in the street 
of St. Antoine, as being the one where I had no acquaint- 
ance, and in which they had most confidence. They thought 
I should there be kept with more rigour than in any other ; 
and they were not mistaken, for they knew the zeal of the 
Mother Superior in executing the King's orders. Besides, 
such a frightful portrait of me had been given to them, 
that the nuns regarded me with horror. It is a House 
where faith is very pure, and God is very well served, and 


for this reason, believing me a heretic, they could not 
regard me with favour. In the whole House they chose 
for my gaoler the person who they knew would treat me 
rigorously. To make my cross complete this girl was 

As soon as I had entered they asked me who was my 
confessor since the imprisonment of Father La Combe. 
I named him. He is a very good man, who even esteems 
me, yet terror had so seized upon all my friends, owing to 
my imprisonment, that this worthy monk, without realiz- 
ing the consequences, renounced me; saying he had never 
heard my confession, and he never would. That had a 
bad effect, and having detected me, according to their story, 
in falsehood, there was no further doubt of all the rest. 
This made me pity that Father, and wonder at human 
weakness. My esteem for him was not lessened, yet there 
were many persons who had seen me at his confessional, 
and who might have served as witnesses. I was content 
to say, " Such a one has renounced me. God be praised ! " 
It was who would disavow me. Each one brought him- 
self to say he did not know me, and all the rest accused me 
of strange wickedness ; it was who would invent the most 

The girl I had by me was gained over by my enemies to 
torment me. She wrote all my words, and spied every- 
thing. The smallest thing could not reach me but she 
ripped it entirely. She used her whole endeavours to catch 
me in my words. She treated me as a heretic, deceived, 
empty-headed. She reproached me for my prayers, and a 
hundred other things. If I was at church she gave great 
sighs, as if I was a hypocrite. When I communicated she was 
still worse, and she told me she prayed God that he would 
not enter into me. In short, she regarded me with only 
horror and indignation. This girl was the intimate of the 
Superior of the House, so that he saw her almost every day, 
and this Superior was in the party of Father La Mothe 

Ohap. v.] autobiography. 173 

and the Official ; so that, although this girl was ready 
enough to obey him from the inclination she had for him, 
he made it a matter of conscience for her to illtreat me. 
God alone knows what she made me suffer. Moreover, the 
Official said I should be judged on the testimony of the 
Prioress ; yet she never saw me, and only knew me through 
this girl, who perpetually told her ill of me ; and being 
prejudiced against me, the most innocent words appeared 
to her crimes, and actions of piety, hypocrisy. I cannot 
express to what point her aversion for me went. As she 
was the only person of that Community I saw, being 
always locked into a small room, I had matter for the 
exercise of patience. Our Lord has not permitted me to 
lose it. 

Yet I committed an infidelity, which caused me strange 
suffering : it is that when I saw her eagerness to make me 
speak in order that she might catch me in my words, I tried 
to watch myself. God, what torment for a soul become 
simple as a child ! I tried to guard my words that they 
might be more exact ; but the only result of this was to 
make me commit more faults, our Lord permitting it 
so, to punish the care I had wished to take of myself — 
I, who am his without reserve, and who ought to regard 
myself only as a thing that belongs to him, with no more 
thought of myself than if I had no existence. Therefore, 
so far from my precaution serving me, I was surprised into 
faults in my words, which but for that I would not have 
committed ; and, owing to the care I had wished to take of 
myself, I was for some days thrown back upon myself with 
a torment that I cannot better compare than to that of 
hell. There is this difference between a soul in purgatory 
and the Kebel Angel — that the soul in purgatory suffers 
an inexplicable torment because she has a very powerful 
tendency to unite herself immediately to her Sovereign 
Good, but yet her pain is not equal to that of a spirit 
who has in heaven enjoyed her Sovereign Good and 


■who is rejected from it. This was the state in which 
my soul was. She was, as it were, in rage and despair, 
and I believe if it had lasted I should have died of it ; 
but I quickly recognized whence came my fault. I aban- 
doned myself freely, and I resolved, though this girl, by 
her false reports, should bring me to the scaffold, I would 
take no care of myself, and would have no more concern 
for myself than if I had ceased to exist. This gradually 
passed away, and I returned into my former state. 

Shortly after I entered the convent I had a dream. I 
suddenly saw the heaven opened, and like a rain of golden 
fire which appeared to me to be, as it were, the fury of God, 
which sought to satisfy itself and do justice to itself. 
There were with me a great number of persons who all 
took to flight to avoid it. As for me, I did quite the 
contrary. I prostrated myself on the earth, and I said to 
our Lord, without speaking to him otherwise than in the 
manner he knows and understands : " It is I, my God, 
am the victim of your divine justice ; it is for me to 
endure all your thunder-bolts." Immediately all that 
rain, which was of flaming gold, fell upon me with 
such violence that it seemed to deprive me of life. I 
woke with a start, fully certain that our Lord did not 
desire to spare me, and that he would make me paj' well 
for the title of " victim of his justice." 

Immediately after I came into this House, Monsieur 
Charon, the Official, and a Doctor of the Sorbonne came to 
interrogate me. They commenced by asking me if it was 
true that I had followed Father La Combe, and that he 
had taken me from France with him. I answered that he 
was ten years out of France when I left it, and therefore 
I was very far from having followed him. They asked 
me if he had not taught me to practise pra3'er. I declared 
I had practised it from my youth ; that he had never 
taught it to me ; that I had no acquaintance with him 
except from a letter of Father La Mothe, which he had 

Chap. V.] AlTTOBTOGRAPHY. 175 

brought me on bis way to Savoy, and that, ten years 
before my departure from France. The Doctor of the Sor- 
bonne, who was acting in good faith, who has never known 
anything of the knaveries (for I was not allowed to speak 
in private to him), said aloud that there was no ground 
there for a serious inquiry. They asked me if it was not 
he who had composed the little book, " Short and Easy 
Method." I said, " No ;" that I had written it in his absence, 
without any design it should be printed ; that a Counsellor 
of Grenoble, a friend of mine, having taken the manu- 
script from my table, found it useful, and desired it might 
be printed ; that he asked me to make a preface for it and 
to divide it into chapters, which I did in a single morning. 
When they saw all I said tended to acquit Father La 
Combe, they no longer questioned me about him. They 
commenced by interrogating me on my book. They have 
never interrogated me on my faith, nor on my prayer, nor 
on my morals. 

I at once made a formal protest, written and signed 
with my own hand, that I had never wandered from the 
sentiments of the Holy Church, for which I would be ready 
to give my blood and my life ; that I had never joined with 
any party ; that I had all my life professed the most 
orthodox sentiments ; that I had even laboured, all my 
life, to submit my intellect and destroy my own will; 
that if anything were found in my books that might be ill 
interpreted, I had already submitted all, and I again sub- 
mitted it, to the opinion of the Holy Church, and even to 
that of persons of doctrine and of experience ; that if I 
answered to the interrogatories upon the little book it was 
merely through obedience, and not to support it, as my 
only design had been to help souls, not to hurt them. 
That was the j&rst interrogation. I was interrogated four 
times. On my coming into the House they told the Prioress 
that I would be there only ten days, to the end of my 
interrogation. I was not at first surprised that I was 


prohibited from all communication outside the house or 
within, because I thought the motive was that I might not 
have any advice in the interrogation. 

The second interrogation was on the little book; 
whether I had desired to do away with vocal prayer 
from the church, and particularly the Chaplet, referring 
to the place where I had taught the saying of Pater Noster 
with application, and had explained the Pater, and that 
a Pater so repeated was worth more than many said 
without attention. It was not difficult to answer this, 
for to teach a prayer with attention and application 
is not to destroy prayer; on the contrary, it is to 
establish it, and to render it perfect. They then put to 
me other questions on the same book, which I then had 
not ; and I have so little memory, that I did not even 
know if what they asked me was in the book. Our Lord 
gave me the grace that he promised to the Apostles, 
which was to give me a much better answer than I could 
have found for myself. They said to me, " If you had 
explained yourself like this throughout the book, you would 
not be here." 

Suddenly I remembered I had put at the foot of the 
chapter the same reason that they approved, and I stated 
it. They would not write it down. After this, I saw they 
bad simply taken the passages of the book that were not 
explained, and they had omitted their explanation; and 
it was merely to serve as a pretext for persecution, as 
the sequel has shown. After I had declared to them the 
explanations were in the book, and if there was anything 
wrong in it, they should not hold responsible me, a woman 
without learning, but the doctors who had approved it even 
without my asking them, since I was not acquainted with 
them; from that time they no more interrogated mo on 
this book, nor on that on " The Song of Songs," being 
satisfied with the submission I had made. 

The last interrogation was on a forged letter, where 


I was made to write, that I had held assemblies in houses 
that I was not acquainted with, and all the rest I have 
already mentioned. They read the letter to me, and as 
the writing was not at all like mine, I was told it was a copy, 
and that they possessed the original, which was similar 
to my writing. I asked to see it, but it has never appeared. 
I said I had never written it, and that I had no acquaint- 
ance with the Minim, to whom it was addressed. To 
understand the malignity of this letter, it should be known 
that a worthy Minim Father came to see me on behalf 
of certain nuns of my acquaintance. One of the hostile 
persecutors said to me, " You see then Minims also." 
Father La Mothe and the woman saw him, and one of the 
two asked me his name. I did not know it, for I was not 
acquainted with him, so I was unable to tell it. They 
concocted then a letter to a Minim to whom they gave 
the name Father Francis, although I have since learned his 
name to be quite different. They made me, then, write to 
this Father, on the 30th of October, a letter in which I wrote 
to him as if he were residing at Paris, the Place Eoyale, 
" My Father, do not come to see me at the Cloister Notre 
Dame." The reason why they had put this was, that 
they had watched that he had not come to the Cloister 
Notre Dame, and were ignorant of the cause. It continued, 
that I no longer held assemblies because I was being spied 
on. This letter convicted me also of designs against the 
State, cabals, and assemblies ; and they added, " I do not 
sign because of the evil times." As they were reading 
this letter to me, I maintained I had never written it. 
The very style would have shown this to all who have seen 
or received my letters. As to the assemblies, I always said 
I had no acquaintance with those persons ; that I knew 
no other Minim but one, who had come to me on behalf 
of certain nuns; that he did not belong to Paris, that he 
was Corrector of Amiens. At the time, I did not recollect 
other reasons to mention, and the Official would not even 



let these reasons be written. He made them merely put 
that I said it was not mine. After having read this letter, 
he turned to me, and said, " You see, Madame, that after a 
letter like this there was good reason to put you in prison." 
I answered him, "Yes, Sir, if I had written it." He 
maintained still, in the presence of the Doctor, it was my 
writing. But our Lord, who never fails at need, made me 
remember, as soon as they were outside, that the worthy 
Father was at Amiens from the commencement of the 
month of September, and it was impossible for me to have 
written to him as being in Paris on the 30th of October ; 
that he had gone away five weeks before I lodged at the 
Cloister Notre Dame, and therefore I could not have written 
to him from there before his departure, on the subject of 
that arrest, and pray him to come and see me on the 30th 
of October, in such and such houses with which I was not 
acquainted, and where I never was — the more so as he was 
at Amiens. I sent all this in writing to the OfiScial, who 
took very good care not to show it to the Doctor. I further 
wrote him that, if he was unwilling to take the trouble to 
prove its falseness, he should give a commission to the 
guardian of my children, who would willingly do it. But 
far from this, what did they do ? I am shut up more 
closely than before. I am accused and defamed every- 
where, and they deprive me of the means of justifying 
myself. They fabricate letters for me, and they are 
unwilling I should prove my innocence of them. For two 
months after the last interrogation not a word was said to 
me, while the same rigour was practised towards me ; that 
Sister treating me worse than ever. 

Up to this I had not written anything for my justifi- 
cation to the Archbishop or to the Official ; for I had no 
liberty to write to others, no more than I have at present. 
I had been, up to the time that I tried to watch myself 
in the manner I have mentioned, without any sensible or 
perceptible support, but in a peace of paradise, leaving 


myself as a mark for all the malice of men. My diversion 
was to express my state in verse. It seemed to me that, 
though shut up in a close prison, my soul had the former 
liberty, larger than the whole earth, which appeared to me 
but as a point in comparison with the vastness I experienced ; 
and my contentment was without contentment for myself, 
because it was in God alone, above every oivn interest. 
Twelve days before Easter I went to confession. I raised 
my eyes without knowing why, and I saw a picture of our 
Lord fallen under his cross, with these words : " See if 
there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow." At the same 
time, I received a powerful impression that crosses were 
about to fall on me in greater crowds. I had always, until 
then, entertained some hope justice would be done me ; but 
when I saw that the more I appeared innocent the more 
they endeavoured to obscure my innocence, and the more 
closely I was kept confined, I concluded they sought not 
my innocence, but only to make me appear guilty. What 
happened confirmed me still more in this thought. 

The Ofiicial came to see me by himself, without the 
Doctor, who had been present at the interrogations, and he 
said to me, " We must not talk about the false letter ; it 
was nothing" (after having previously told me it was for 
that I was imprisoned). I said to him, "What, Sir, is it 
not the point in question — the counterfeiting the writing of 
a person and making her pass for one who holds assemblies 
and has designs against the State ? " He immediately said 
to me, " We will seek the author." I said to him, ''He is 
no other than scribe Gautier," whose wife had told me he 
counterfeited all sorts of writing. He saw well I had hit 
the mark. Then he asked me where were the papers 
I had written on the Scripture. I told him I would give 
them when I should be out of prison. I did not wish to 
say to whom I had confided them. He said to me, " If 
we happen to ask them from you, say the same thing," 
making me offers of service. Yet he went away very 


pleased thinking be had a means of ruining me beyond 
remedy, and satisfying Father La Mothe's desire that 
I should never be let out of prison. 

He drew up a proces verbal as if he had interro- 
gated me judicially, although it was nothing but a simple 
conversation. The proces verbal ran, that up to that 
having been in appearance docile, I had rebelled when they 
had demanded my papers. I knew nothing of all this. I 
wrote a very strong letter to the Official on what he had 
said to me, that the letter they had forged was nothing. 
I also wrote to the Archbishop, who is himself mild enough, 
and who would not have been led to treat me with so much 
rigour if he had not been solicited by my enemies. He 
gave me no answer. But the Official thought he had found 
a means of ruining me by saying I had been rebellious, 
and I would not give up my writings. Three or four days 
before Easter he came with the Doctor of the Sorbonne and 
his proces verbal. To the latter I answered that I had 
made a great difference between a private conversation 
and an interrogation, and that I had not deemed myself 
obliged to tell a thing which had been asked me only hypo- 
thetically, and that the papers were in the hands of my 
maid. They asked me if I was willing to hand them over 
to be disposed of as they pleased. I said, " Yes ; that 
having written only to do the will of God, I was as content 
to have written for the fire as for the press." The Doctor 
said nothing could be more edifying. The copies of my 
writings were placed in their hands, for as to the originals 
they had long ceased to be at my disposal. I do not know 
where those who took them from me have placed them ; 
but I have this firm faith, that they will all be preserved 
in spite of the tempest. As for me, I had no more of them 
than I gave, and I did not know where were the others ; 
thus I could say it with truth. 

The Prioress of the House where I am a prisoner asked 
the Official how my aft'air went, and if I would soon be let 


out of prison. It escaped him to say to her (and perhaps 
he did it owing to the Doctor, the better to screen himself) : 
** My Mother, what could one do to a person that does and 
says all that one desires and in whom nothing is found ? 
She will be released on a very early day." Yet they did 
not justify me. The Archbishop declared himself well 
satisfied with me, and my release and innocence were 
openly spoken of. Father La Mothe was the only one who 
had apprehensions. They sought to catch me by surprise. 
The more I was innocent, the more troubles I had. I 
was informed my affair went well, and I should be released 
at Easter. In the depth of my soul I had a presentiment to 
the contrary. 

i82 MADAME GUYON. [Part 111. 


Up to this I had been in a state of inexplicable con- 
tentment and joy at suffering and being a prisoner. It 
seemed to me that the captivity of my body made me 
better taste the liberty of my spirit. The more I was 
confined externally, the more I was large and extended 
within. My prayers still the same, simple and nothing ; 
although there are times when the Spouse clasps more 
closely and plunges deeper into himself. I had been in 
this way up to the time that I committed the infidelity 
of trying to watch myself in the manner I have told. On 
St. Joseph's Day I was introduced into a more marked 
state, one rather of heaven than of earth. I went to the 
Calvary, which is at the bottom of the garden ; my gaoler 
having had permission to take me there. It was in this 
place (which has always been my delight), and there I 
remained a very long time ; but in a state too simple, pure, 
and naked for me to be able to speak of it. The most 
elevated dispositions are those of which one can say 
nothing. I am not astonished nothing is said of those of 
the Holy Virgin and St. Joseph. All those which have 
anything marked are much inferior. 

By this state — so much above anything that can be told, 
although in the same central depth which does not change 
— I understood there was some new cup for me to drink : 
like as the Transfiguration of Christ, where he conversed 


on bis sufferings, was, as it were, the pledge of that which 
he had to suffer, and an introduction into his Passion; 
where, in fact, he entered internally from that very hour, 
depriving himself for the rest of his life of the outpourings 
of the Divinity upon the humanity ; so that he was 
deprived from that moment of all the supports he pre- 
viously had. Then his Glory, exhibiting itself upon his 
body, made, as it were, a last effort to withdraw for ever ; 
and having to be altogether shut up in his Divinity, it 
left the humanity in a privation so much the greater as 
the state of glory and enjoyment was to him more natural. 
As, then, from the Transfiguration, so far as I can under- 
stand, up to the death of Jesus Christ, all outpourings 
of beatitudes were suspended, to leave him in pure 
suffering, I can also say that the same happened to me 
although unworthy to participate in the states of Jesus 
Christ, and with the disparity between an insignificant 
and weak creature and a God Man. For the day of St. 
Joseph, a saint with whom I am in a very intimate 
manner united, was as a day of Transfiguration for me. 
It seemed to me that I had no longer anything of the 
creature, and from this time a sort of suspension has taken 
place, so that I have been as much abandoned by God as 
persecuted by creatures : not that I have any pain or 
trouble at this abandonment or that my soul has the least 
inclination for anything else — that can no longer be, for 
she is without inclination or tendency for anything what- 
soever; but nevertheless she is in such an abandonment 
that I am sometimes obliged to reflect to know if I have 
a being and subsistence. The whole of St. Joseph's Day 
I was the same, and it began to diminish gradually up 
to the day of the Annunciation, which is the day my heart 
rejoices in : yet on that day it was signified to me that I 
must enter upon new bitterness, and drink to the dregs of 
the indignation of God. The dream that I had where all 
the indignation of God fell upon me came back to my 


mind, and I had to sacrifice myself anew. The evening of 
the Annunciation I was put into an agony I cannot 
express. The fury of God was entire, and my soul without 
any support from heaven or from earth. It seemed to me 
that our Lord desired to make me experience something 
of his agony in the Garden. This lasted until Easter, 
after which I was restored to my former tranquillity 
with this difference, that all co-operation is removed, and 
that I am, whether in regard to God or in regard to 
creatures, as that which no longer exists. I have to 
make an effort to think if I am and what I am ; if there 
are in God creatures and anything subsisting. 

Although I have been treated in the manner I have 
said, and I shall hereafter tell, I have never had any 
resentment against my persecutors. I have not been 
ignorant of the persecution they caused me. God has 
willed that I have seen all and known all ; he gave 
me an interior certainty that it was so, and I have never 
had a moment's doubt of it : but although I knew it, I had 
no bitterness against them, and, had it been necessary 
to give my blood for their salvation I would have given 
it, and I would still give it with all my heart. With regard 
to them, I have never had anything to mention in con- 
fession. There are feeble minds who say that we ought 
not to believe that people do that which nevertheless 
they do. Did Jesus Christ and the Saints pluck out 
their eyes to avoid seeing their persecutors? They saw 
them, but they saw at the same time that they would 
not have "had any power except it had been given 
them from above." Therefore it is that, loving the blows 
which God inflicts, one cannot hate the hand he uses to 
strike us, although one well sees which it is. 

On Holy Thursday the Official came to see me by him- 
self, and told me he gave me the freedom of the cloister- 
that is to say, that I could go about in the House ; that he 
would not give any liberty lor outside. I could not even 


obtain permission to speak to the guardian of my children. 
Yet they did not cease continually urging my daughter to 
consent to a marriage which would have been her ruin ; 
and, in order to succeed, they had put her into the hands of 
the cousin of the gentleman to whom they wished to give 
her. That would have caused me great anxiety if I was 
capable of feeling it ; but I had all my trust in God, and 
that he would not j)ermit it to take place, the person in 
question having no tincture of Christianity, and being utterly 
ruined. The Official told me, at the same time, that I was 
entirely acquitted ; that I was left here only for a short 
time for form's sake, that they might have the opinion of 
the Prioress, whose merit and uprightness was long known. 
The Prioress and all the community gave me the best 
character that one can give of a person, and the community 
conceived a very great affection for me, so that the nuns 
could not help speaking good of me to everybody. Had I 
my choice of all the convents in Paris, even those where I 
am known, I could not be better than in this one. It was 
there, my Love, that I recognized yet more your provi- 
dence over me, and the protection you afforded me ; for 
they had chosen this Community as the one where they 
believed I should be treated with the greatest rigour, after 
having in the strongest manner prejudiced it against me. 

As soon as Father La Mothe learned they spoke well of 
me in this House, he persuaded himself they could not 
speak well of me without speaking ill of him ; and although 
I saw nobody, he wrote and complained to all the world, 
that I decried him everywhere, and that the community 
were speaking much ill of him ; so that he embittered anew 
against me the minds of the Archbishop and of the Official, 
whose confessor he is. Far from releasing me at the end of 
ten days, as they had said, they left me there many months 
without saying anything to me. They even circulated 
new calumnies and, after having said I was innocent, they 
blackened me worse than ever. The Archbishop said I 


must expect nothing but from my repentance. He told 
Pere de la Chaise that I had errors, and that I had even 
retracted them with tears, but that there was good ground 
to believe it was only through dissimulation, and therefore 
it was necessary to keep me shut up. On this I demanded 
only one thing, that they should punish me if I was 
guilty, but that they should exhibit my interrogation. It 
was what they never would do : on the contrary, the only 
answer was fresh calumnies. 

What has been most painful to me in all this affair, 
is that it was impossible to take any measures. I was con- 
tinually tossed between hope and despair. They suddenly 
came to tell me my persecutors had the upper hand, that 
they had made His Majesty believe I was guilty of all the 
crimes of which I was accused. Practically all my friends 
withdrew, and said they did not know me. My enemies 
cried Victory ! and redoubled their rigours and severities 
against me. I continued content and resigned to remain 
in disgrace, believing I must there end my days, and no 
longer thought but of remaining all my life a prisoner. 
Then suddenly there came days of hope, which showed the 
business almost concluded in my favour, and that I was 
on the point of being declared and recognized as innocent. 
"When the matter seemed settled and hope revived, there 
came a new turn, and a fresh calumny of my enemies, who 
made it believed they had found new documents against 
me, and that I had committed new crimes. This was con- 
tinual, so that I regarded myself in the hands of God as 
a reed beaten by the wind, laid flat then suddenly lifted up, 
unable to continue either in disgrace or in hope. My soul 
has never changed her position from being incessantly 
beaten : she was always in the same state. 

I was suddenly told that Father La Mothe had 
succeeded in having me placed in a House of which ho 
is the master, and where it was believed he would make 
rac suffer extremely, for he is very harsh. He ho fully 


believed it, that he had given orders to keep a room ready 
to shut me up in. They brought me this news, which was 
of all what I should dread. All my friends were weeping 
bitterly. I did not feel even the first movement of trouble 
or pity for myself; my soul did not even for an instant 
change her position. Another time a person of weight 
offered to speak for me, and was confident of my imme- 
diate deliverance. The thing seemed done. I had not a 
first movement of joy at it. It seems to me my soul is in 
an entire immobility, and there is in me so entire a loss of 
all which regards myself, that none of my interests can 
cause me pain or pleasure. Besides, I belong so entirely 
to my God, that I cannot wish anything for myself but 
what he does ; death, the scaffold, with which numberless 
times I have been threatened, does not make the least 
alteration. Shall I say it, my Love, that there is in me 
a sovereign love for you alone above all love, which even 
in Hell would make me content in the disposition in which 
I am ; because I cannot content myself or afflict myself 
with anything which should be my own, but with the sole 
contentment of God. Now, as God will be infinitely happy, 
it seems to me that there is not any misfortune, either in 
time or in eternity, which can hinder me from being 
infinitely happy ; since my happiness is in God alone. 

No justice was rendered me ; on the contrary, they 
endeavoured to invent new calumnies against me, and 
thereby to conceal the strange persecution to which I was 
subjected. The only confessor allowed me was one who 
hears confession from the nuns, and he is deaf ; so that 
they were obliged to have extraordinary ones brought. All 
I could obtain was on the eve of Pentecost to make my con- 
fession to a monk, who came because the confessor was 
ill, and it was out of the question to pass that festival 
without confession. I admit the very frequent confession 
practised in this House has been my greatest trouble ; 
for our Lord keeps me in such an oblivion of myself, that 


I could not confess anything but generalities, or matters 
long passed : but as to the present, I do not know where 
I am and what I am ; I can say nothing of it. A lady of 
the world whom Providence caused me to meet in this 
House, and who has conceived much affection for me, and 
has rendered me all the services she was able, seeing the 
injustice done to me, resolved to ask a Jesuit Father of 
her acquaintance to speak to Pere de la Chaise. This 
worthy Father did it : but he found Pere de la Chaise 
much prejudiced against me, because they had made him 
believe that I was in errors, and that I had even retracted 
them, but that many still clung to me ; so that this worthy 
lady advised me to write to Pere de la Chaise. I wrote 
him this letter : — 

" My Reverend Father, 

" If my enemies had attacked only my honour and 
my liberty, I would have preferred silence to justifying 
myself, it being my habit to adopt this course; but at 
present, when they attack my faith, saying that I have 
retracted errors, and when I am even suspected of having 
still more, I have been obliged, while asking the protection 
of your Reverence, to inform you of the truth. I assure 
your Reverence I have done nothing of the kind, and what 
smrprises me is, that, after the Official himself has acknow- 
ledged that the memoirs which were given in against 
me were false, and that the letter forged against me 
was recognized as coming from a forger, as a conse- 
quence of the incontestable proofs I gave him it was 
not mine : after those who have been given me for 
examiners, who have never demanded from me a retrac- 
tation, but petty explanations, with which they appeared 
satisfied, have declared me innocent, and I have even 
placed in their hands writings which I had only made 
for my own edification, offering them to their judgment 
with all my heart — that after, I say, these things, 1 have 


reason to believe your Eeverence is not informed of my 
innocence. I cannot, my Eeverend Father, dissimulate 
that, for any other article but that of faith, it would be 
easy for me to suffer calumny, but how could I keep 
silence for the most righteous grief that ever was ? I have 
all my life made so open a profession of the most orthodox 
sentiments, that I have even thereby attracted enemies. 
If I dared open my heart to your Eeverence with the 
secrecy of a perfect confidence, it would be very easy to 
prove to you, by incontestable facts, that it is temporal 
interests which have brought me where I am. After 
having refused things which in conscience I could not do, 
I was threatened with being involved in trouble. I have 
seen the menaces ; I have even felt their effects, without 
being able to defend myself, because I am without intrigue 
and without party ; and how easy is it, my Eeverend 
Father, to oppress a person destitute of all protection! 
But how can I expect your Eeverence to believe me, when, 
unfortunately, I am only known to you by calumny? 
However, I advance nothing that I cannot prove, if you 
consent to be informed of it. It would be a favour that 
would win the eternal gratitude of your, etc." 

This letter had an effect the exact opposite of what was 
anticipated. I wrote it only through complaisance and to 
avoid scandal ; for they regarded as obstinacy my resolution 
to make no step for my justification. They said that I was 
expecting God to do everything, and that this was to tempt 
him. I felt within that this letter and all they made me 
write would be without effect ; that, on the contrary, they 
would do more harm than good. Yet our Lord willed I 
should write, to make them see that all one does for a soul 
given up to God is an exceedingly small thing, if he does 
not himself do it. I had known from the commencement 
that our Lord wished to be my sole deliverer. Therefore I 
had a joy that cannot be expressed when I saw all the 

190 MADAME GUYO^^. [Part HI. 

intrigues of the best-intentioned creatures only serve to 
Bpoil everything. Pere de la Chaise spoke of me to the 
Archbishop. This only served to give rise to new falsifica- 
tions and new persecutions. The Archbishop assured him 
I was very criminal, and, the better to prove it, he feigned 
to wish to show me favour. He sent here a Bishop, one of 
his friends, to solicit the Prioress underhand that she 
should make me write a letter of submission and civility, 
in which I should declare that I was criminal and that I 
had retracted, promising that, if I wrote this letter, they 
would release me at once. 

I forgot to say that, a month previous to this, the Official 
came with the Doctor to see me, and, in the presence of the 
Mother Superior, proposed to me that, if I would consent 
to the marriage of my daughter, I should be released from 
prison before eight days. I said I would not purchase my 
liberty at the price of sacrificing my daughter ; that I was 
content to remain in prison as long as it should please our 
Lord. He answered that the King would not do any 
violence but he desired it. I said that I knew the King was 
too just and too equitable to act otherwise. Yet, a few days 
afterwards, they reported to Pere de la Chaise, that I had 
said that the King wished to keep me in prison until I had 
consented to the marriage of my daughter ; that the Arch- 
bishop had himself told the guardian of my children that 
I should not be released until I had consented to it ; and, 
although I saw nobody and had no communication with 
outside, they accused me of having invented this, and they 
said I was a State criminal, and should again be shut uj) 
under key. But before this they made another attempt 
to see if I would write the letter they desired of me, 
as preliminary to my deliverance. They had no intention 
to deliver me, but a strong wish to have an incontestable 
proof against me, in order to confine me for the rest of my 
days — the one object my enemies had in view. 



A FEW days later I saw, by night in a dream, the same 
man who had made the first false document, and he 
made two others. I also saw another intrigue of Father 
La Mothe and a persecution he raised against me, so 
that I found no refuge. Our Lord made me know, either 
by presentiment or by dream, what they were doing against 
me. Three or four days afterwards the Official and the 
Doctor came to tell the Prioress that I must again be shut 
up under key. She represented to them that the room I 
was in was small, opening only on the side where the sun 
shines all day; and in the month of July, how was it 
possible ? it was to cause my death. They paid no 
attention to this. The Mother asked why they shut me up 
again. They told her I had done frightful things for a 
month back in her House, that I had had strange bursts 
of violence in this same House and that I scandalized the 
nuns. In vain the Mother protested the contrary, and 
assured them the whole community were edified by me, and 
they could not tire of admiring my patience and my 
moderation. The Official said he knew it at first hand, and 
I had done terrible things in her House. The poor woman 
could not restrain her tears at seeing an invention so 
utterly remote from the truth. 

They then sent to fetch me, and they maintained to me 
that I had done horrible things in this House for a month 


back. I asked what they were. They would not tell me. 
I asked who could give an account of what I had done 
beside the Prioress and the nuns, yet they would not 
accept their testimony ; that I would suffer as long as it 
pleased God : that they had commenced this business on 
forgeries, and would continue it on the same. The Doctor 
said to me I ought not to embitter matters, nor do the 
horrible things they said I had done. I answered him that 
God was witness of all. He told me that, in this sort of 
affairs, to take God for a witness was a crime. I told him 
that nothing in the world could prevent me having 
recourse to God. I then withdrew, and I was shut up 
more closely than the first time ; and because they had 
not got a key, they fastened the room with a wooden bar 
across. All who passed by there were astonished. I had 
much joy at this new humiliation. Oh, what pleasure, 
my Love, to be, for you, in the most extreme abjections ! 

When the Official was asked why he had caused me to 
be shut up, he said, he did not know ; that they must ask 
the Prelate. The guardian of my children went to see the 
Archbishop, and asked him why they had imprisoned me, 
since he himself had said I was exonerated. He answered 
him, " You, Sir, know, being a Judge, that ten documents do 
not condemn, but a single one may be found which condemns 
absolutely." The Counsellor said to him, " But, my Lord, 
what has my cousin done anew?" "What," says he, "you 
do not know it ! She has done frightful things for a month 
back." He, very greatly surprised, asked what they were. 
He said to him, " After having declared she was inno- 
cent, she has written with tears, and as if under force, a 
retractation, in which she states that she recognizes she has 
been in error and in evil sentiments, that she is guilty of 
the things of which they accuse her, and that she cursed 
the day and the hour she became acquainted with that 
Father" (meaning Father La Combe). The Counsellor was 
strangely surprised, but he suspected it was an invention. 


He requested to see that, and also my interrogations. The 
Archbishop told him it was a thing which would never be 
shown, and that it was the affair of the King. The Coun- 
sellor, for greater certaint}^ came here to see my friend, to 
know if I had written and signed anything. My friend 
assured him that neither the Official nor the Doctor had 
come here for four months — that is, since the Holy Thurs- 
day, when they came to propose the marriage of my 
daughter, on which occasion the Counsellor was present. 
Thus he saw I had signed nothing, and that I had written 
nothing, except, at the instance of the Mother, one letter 
to the Archbishop, of no importance, the copy of which she 
had and showed him. Here it is : — 

"My Lord, 

" If I have so long preserved a profound silence, 
it is, not to be troublesome to your Greatness, but at pre- 
sent the necessity of my temporal concerns indispensably 
requires me : I earnestly pray your Greatness to ask my 
liberty from His Majesty. It will be a favour for which 
I shall be under infinite obligations to you. I am the more 
hopeful of obtaining it, because the Official told me, before 
Easter, that I should not remain longer here than ten 
days, although many times that period has since passed ; 
but I shall in no way regret this if it has served to 
persuade you, my Lord, of my perfect submission and of 
the profound respect with which I am, etc." 

This letter said nothing at all ; yet he asserted he had 
a frightful one which I had written against the King and 
against the State. It was not difficult for the scribe who 
had written the first false letters to write others. 

It was, then, these frightful counterfeit letters, which 
were shown to Pere de la Chaise, for which I was shut up. 
God, you see all this, and my soul was content in the 
face of such falsities and such knaveries. As soon as I was 

VOL. II. o 


again shut up, a fresh rumour was set going that I had 
been convicted of crimes, and that I had committed fresh 
ones. Every one broke out against me ; even my friends 
found fault with me, and blamed me for the letter I had 
written to Pere de la Chaise. They commenced, also, in 
the House to have doubts of me ; and the more desperate 
I saw everything, the more content was I, my God, in 
your will. I said, " my Love, now they will no longer 
oblige me to have recourse to creatures. I await every- 
thing from you alone. Do with me, then, for time and 
for eternity, whatever is pleasing to you. Gratify yourself 
with my trouble." The guardian of my children was not 
firm. He was sometimes for me, but as soon as Father 
La Mothe spoke to him he was against me ; so that he 
was continually wavering. 

Three days before I was shut up. Father La Mothe had 
said that they would shut me up again, and he wrote to 
my sister, the nun, a violent letter against me. He also 
said, '* We have learned that, in the place where Father 
La Combe is imprisoned, there is a commandant who 
is one of his friends. They will take care to imprison 
him." It should be known that when Father La Combe 
was transferred to the Isle of Oleron, the commandants 
did justice to his virtue. As soon as they saw him they 
recognized he was a true servant of God. Consequently 
the commandant, full of love for the truth, wrote to 
Monsieur de Chateauneuf, that this Father was a man of 
God, and that he begged some alleviation of his imprison- 
ment might be granted. De Chateauneuf showed the 
letter to the Archbishop, who showed it to Father La 
Mothe, and they decided he must be transferred from there. 
This has been done. He was taken to a desert isle, where 
he cannot see those commandants. God, nothing is 
concealed from you. Will you for long leave your servant 
in ignominy and grief? 

Before I was arrested, M. had sent for a woman, 


who is a person of honour, hut who did not know me, 
to tell her that she must go to the Jesuits and depose 
against me many things which he mentioned to her. She 
answered him, that she did not know me. He said 
that was of no importance, it must be done ; that his 
design was to destroy me. Thereupon this woman went 
to consult a virtuous ecclesiastic, who told her it was a sin 
and a falsehood. She did not do it. He then proposed it 
to another person who excused himself. Another, a monk, 
against whom there were subjects of complaint, to bring 
himself into credit, wrote against me. It was who would 
write most violently. I have a cousin-german, whom I 
believe our Lord has provided for me ; for I expect sooner 
or later he will finish his work. This relative, who is at 
Saint-Cyr, spoke on my behalf to Madame de Maintenon. 
She is the only person who has spoken for me. Madame 
de Maintenon found the King much prejudiced. Father La 
Mothe having been even with him to speak against me. 
There was, therefore, nothing to be done. They came to 
tell me there was no more hope, and all my friends said 
that the only thing which could be expected was perpetual 

I fell dangerously ill, and the physician considered me in 
great peril. It could not be otherwise, as I was shut up 
in a place where the air was so hot it was like a stove. 
They wrote to the Ofiicial to procure for me the necessary 
alleviations, and even the Sacraments, and to permit 
some one to enter my chamber to attend me. He gave no 
answer, and but for the Superior of the House, who thought 
they could not in conscience allow me to die without 
treatment, and who told the Mother Superior to give it to 
me, I had died without help ; for when it was mentioned 
to the Archbishop, he said : " What, she is ill, is she, at 
being shut up within four walls after what she has done ! " 
and although the Counsellor asked it of him, he would 
yield nothing. I had a very violent continuous fever, 


inflammation of the throat, a cough, and a continual 
discharge from the head upon the chest, which, it seemed, 
must suffocate me. But, God, you did not want me, 
since you inspired the Superior of the House to give orders 
I should be seen by the physician and the surgeon ; for I 
should have died but for the promptness with which they 
bled me. I believe few examples of like treatment can be 
found. I knew all this, and that all Paris was let loose 
against me, but I felt no pain at it. My friends feared 
lest I should die ; for by my death my name would remain 
in disgrace, and my enemies have the upper hand. These 
latter believed I was already dead, and they rejoiced at it ; 
but you, my Love, did not will they should rejoice over 
me ; you willed, after having abased me to the abyss, to 
make jour mercy shine forth. 

The day of Pentecost it was put into my mind that, under 
the ancient law, there were many martyrs of the Divinity ; 
for the prophets, and so many other Israelites have been 
martyrs of the true God, and have suffered only for 
maintaining the Divinity ; that in the Primitive Church 
the martyrs have shed their blood to maintain the truth of 
Jesus Christ Crucified, God and man ; their martyrdom also 
was bloody : but at present there are martyrs of the Holy 
Spirit. These martyrs suffer in two ways — first, because 
they maintain the reign of the Holy Spirit in souls ; and, 
secondly, because they are the victims of the will of God ; 
for the Holy Spirit is the will of the Father and of the Son, 
as he is the love of it. These martyrs must suffer an 
extraordinary martyrdom — not in shedding their blood, but 
in being captives of the will of God, the plaything of his 
providence, and martyrs of his Spirit. The martyrs of the 
Primitive Church have suffered for the message of God, 
which was announced to them by the Word. The martyrs 
of the present time suffer for dependence on the Spirit of 

It is this Spirit, which is about to be poured out on all 


flesh, as is said in the prophet Joel. The martyrs of Jesus 
Christ have been glorious martyrs, Jesus Christ having 
drunk all confusion and disgrace. But the martyrs of the 
Holy Spirit are martyrs of shame and ignominy. It is 
for this reason the Devil no longer exercises his power 
upon the faith of these last martyrs ; the question is no 
longer of that : but he attacks directly the domain of the 
Holy Spirit, opposing the celestial movement in souls, and 
discharging his hatred on the bodies of those whose 
spirit is beyond his attack. Oh martyrdom most horrible 
and most cruel of all ! So will it be the consummation of 
all martyrdoms. And as the Holy Spirit is the consumma- 
tion of all graces, so the martyrs of the Holy Spirit will be 
the last martyrs, after which, during a very long time, this 
Holy Spirit will so possess hearts and minds, that he will 
cause his subjects to do through love all that is pleasing 
to him, as the devils by tyranny made those whom they 
possessed do all that they wished. Holy Spirit, 
Spirit of Love, make, then, of me all that pleases you for 
time and for eternity. Let me be slave to your will, and 
as a leaf is moved at the pleasure of the wind, may I 
allow myself to move at your divine breath : but as the 
impetuous wind breaks and tears away all that resists it, 
break all that opposes itself to your empire, break the 
cedars, as your prophet expresses it, — yes, the cedars shall 
be broken, all shall be destroyed; but "Send out thy 
Spirit, and thou wilt renew the face of the earth." It is 
this same Spirit which destroys, that will renew the face 
of the earth. 

This is very certain. Send your Spirit, Lord ; you 
have promised it. It is said of Jesus Christ, he expired, 
*' breathed out his spirit ; " marking thereby the consum- 
mation of his sufferings and the consummation of the 
ages. Also, it is said, he gave up his spirit after having 
said, "It is consummated," which shows us the consum- 
mation of all things will be effected by the extension of 


that same Spirit through all the earth ; and that this con- 
summation will be that of eternity, which will never ibe 
consummated, because it will no more subsist but by the 
vivifying and immortal Spirit. Our Lord in expiring 
gave up his spirit into the hands of his Father, as if 
to let us know that after this Spirit (which is, which 
was, and which will be, the will and love of God com- 
municated to men) had come out from God to visit the 
earth, it would return to God almost entirely withdrawn 
from earth and continuing immovable for a time. 

The reign of the Father has been before the Incar- 
nation ; that of the Son through the Incarnation, as it 
is said of Jesus Christ, that he came to reign ; and, since 
his death, St. Paul says that " he will hand back his King- 
dom to God his Father," as if this Apostle would put into 
the mouth of Jesus Christ these words : " I have reigned, 
my Father, in you and through you. You have reigned 
in me and through me. I now hand back my Kingdom 
to you, that we may reign through the Holy Spirit." 
Jesus Christ asks his Father for us in the Pater, *' that 
his Kingdom may come." Is not this Kingdom come since 
Jesus Christ is King ? But let us hear what Jesus Christ 
himself teaches us : " That your will be done on earth as 
in heaven." It is as if he asked that his true reign, which 
must come through that of the Holy Spirit, may come, — 
reign where that Holy Spirit, by communicating himself to 
them, shall make men accomplish his will upon the earth, 
as it is accomplished in heaven, without repugnance, 
without resistance, without delay, and infallibly. " It 
will be then," Jesus Christ means to say, "that our reign, 
my Father, will be consummated upon the earth. It 
will be then my enemies shall be made my footstool ; " 
and thus it will be, because the Holy Spirit, in subjecting 
all wills to himself, will subject all men to Jesus Christ 
and that, all wills being subjected, all spirits will also be 
Bul)jected. It is this which will bring about that, when the 


Holy Spirit shall have renewed the face of the earth, there 
will be no more idolaters ; all will be subjected by the 
Spirit to the Lord. 

Spirit, Consummator of all things, reduce every- 
thing to one ! But before that can be, you will be a 
Spirit-Destroyer. Accordingly, Jesus Christ, speaking of 
the Spirit that he is about to send, says : "I am not come 
to bring peace, but the sword. I am come to bring fire. 
"What do I wish, but that it should burn?" It is 
necessary to be re-born of the Spirit and of water. The 
message (speech) is like water that flows away ; but it is 
the Spirit which renders it fruitful. It is this ** Spirit, 
which will teach us all things ; " as Jesus Christ says, 
*' He will take of mine :" for it is by the Holy Spirit the 
Word is communicated to us, as in Mary : — Spirit who 
teaches through the central depth. 

200 MADAiME GUYOi^. [Pakt 111. 


Although the Archbishop had told the Counsellor, who 
is guardian of my children, that I had written to him 
those retractations and those dreadful letters of which I 
have spoken, which, as the Lord showed me in a dream, 
they had got written by the forger who had done the 
first one, they did not cease, in an underhand way, 
urging me to write something similar, promising me 
complete liberty. They wished to draw from me retracta- 
tions, and yet neither in the interrogations nor judicially 
had they ever required them of me, because the Doctor, who 
is an honorable man, was witness to it, and there was 
nothing which called for them, as I was never interrogated 
upon anything of this kind. But they hoped, in procuring 
this letter from me, to declare me guilty to posterity, and 
to show thereby they had reason for imprisoning me ; 
thus covering all their artifices. They further wished a 
pretext which might appear, and which would prove it 
was with justice they had caused Father La Combe to be 
imprisoned ; and they tried by menaces and by promises 
to make me write that he was a deceiver. To this I 
answered, that I was not unhappy in the convent nor in 
prison, however rigorous it might be ; that I was ready 
to die, and even to ascend the scaffold, rather than write a 
falsehood ; that they had only to show my interrogations ; 
that I had spoken the truth as 1 had sworn to speak it. 


As they saw they could extract nothing from me, they 
composed an execrable letter, wherein they make me accuse 
myself of all sorts of crimes, even of those our Lord has 
given me the grace to be ignorant of: that I recognize 
Father La Combe has deceived me ; that I hate the hour 
I knew him. God, you see this, and you keep 
silence : you will not always keep silence. When Father 
La Mothe saw that people were beginning to believe he was 
the author of the persecution and of the imprisonment of 
Father La Combe, in order to excuse himself to the world, 
he caused it to be conveyed to Father La Combe that 
I had accused him. He said, " I have intreated the Arch- 
bishop to show me the interrogations of my monk. I even 
wished to follow this up, and to demand the reason why 
he was a prisoner, but the Archbishop told me that they 
were matters concerning the King, with which I should not 
meddle." He published to all the world that I was on the 
point of ruining their House : that I tried to make them 
Quietists — I, who never spoke to them. He bethought him 
of another trick, in order it might never be known to His 
Majesty that he was the author of our persecutions. He 
made the Archbishop, whose director he is, consult him to 
know if in conscience he, the Archbishop, could set me free ; 
because he feared Madame Maintenon might speak in my 
favour. To an answer making me appear guilty, Father 
La Mothe, in a concerted letter, writes as if in my interest : 
" I think, my Lord, you may let my sister go, notwith- 
standing all that is past ; and I answer you after having 
consulted God, and I do not find any objection to it." 
This letter is carried to His Majesty to show the probity 
of Father La Mothe, and to arrest any suspicion touching 
him. Yet they did not cease to say openly, notwithstand- 
ing the consultation, that they do not believe in conscience 
they could set me at liberty, and it is on this footing they 
speak of it to His Majesty ; making me appear so much the 
more criminal as they make Father La Mothe the more 


zealous. A Bishop, speaking of me one day to one of my 
friends, who tried to defend me: **How," said he, "do 
you wish to make us believe her innocent, — I, who know 
that Father La Mothe, her own brother, has been 
compelled by zeal for the good of the Church and by a 
spirit of piety, to carry frightful reports against his sister 
and his monk to the Archbishop ? He is a good man, 
who has done this only through zeal." This Bishop is 
intimate with the Archbishop : a Doctor of the Sorbonne, 
who is everything with the Archbishop, said the same. 

Although Father La Combe is in prison, we do not cease 
to communicate together in God, in a wonderful manner. 
I have seen a letter of his where he writes it to a person in 
his confidence. Many spiritual persons to whom our Lord 
has united me by a kind of maternity, experience the same 
communication, although I be absent, and find in uniting 
themselves to me the remedy for their ills. God, you 
who have chosen this poor insignificant creature to make 
her the throne of your bounties and of your rigours, you 
know I omit many things from not knowing how to express 
them and from want of memory. I have told what I have 
been able, with an extreme sincerity and an entire truth. 
Although I have been obliged to write the proceedings of 
those who persecute me, I have not done it through 
resentment : since I bear them in my heart and pray for 
them, leaving to God the care of defending me and 
delivering me from their hands, without my making a 
movement for that purpose. / have believed and under- 
stood that I should sincerely write all things in order 
that he might be thereby glorified, and that he willed that 
what liad been done in secret against his servants should 
one day be published upon the house-top, and the more they 
endear our to hide themselves from the eyes of men the more 
will God make manifest all tilings. 

I experience at present two states both together. I 
bear Jesus Christ Crucified and Child. As a consequence 


of the one, crosses are in great number, very severe and 
without cessation ; there being few days I have not 
manj' of them. As a consequence of the other, I have 
something chikUike, simple, candid ; something so innocent 
that it seems to me, if my soul were put under a press, 
only candour, innocence, simplicity and suffering would 
issue from it. my Love, it seems to me you have made 
of me a prodigy before your eyes for your sole glory. 
I cannot tell how it sometimes happens that when I 
approach the image of Jesus Christ Crucified, or Child, 
I feel myself, without feeling, suddenly renewed in one or 
other of these states ; and there takes place in me 
something of the original, which communicates itself to me 
in an inexplicable manner, and which experience alone can 
make understood — this experience is rare. It is, then, to 
you, my Love, that I make over what I have written 
for you. 

Written this 21st of August, 1688, aged forty years, 
from my prison which I love and cherish. 

I will write the memoirs of the rest of my life through 
obedience, with a view to completing them one day, if it is 
deemed suitable. 

I forgot to say that I believe I felt the state of the souls 
who approached me, and that of the persons who were 
given to me, however distant these were. I call "feeling " 
an interior impression of what they were; especially in 
the case of those who passed for spiritual. I knew at once 
if they were simple or dissimulating; their degree and 
their self-love, for which things I had a repugnance to 
them. I recognized when they were strong in themselves, 
and resting on the virtue they believed themselves to have, 
and by which they measured others, and condemned in 
their mind those who were not like them, although more 
perfect. These persons, who believe themselves and are 
believed righteous, are much more disagreeable to God 
than certain sinners through weakness ; whom the world 


regards with horror, and to whom, nevertheless, God shows 
very great mercies. This will only be seen at the Day of 
Judgment. Yet God suffers with difficulty these strong 
souls, of themselves so full, although they think themselves 
humble, because they practise certain forms of humility ; 
which most often only serve to augment their self-opinion. 
If these souls had to suffer some real humiliation, 
whether for some unexpected fall or public infamy, where 
would they be ? Then one would know their lack of 
solidity. If it were known how God loves true little- 
ness, men would be astonished at it. When people 
speak to me of some persons of piety, my central depth 
rejects those who are not in the littleness of which I 
speak, and it admits those who are devoted to God as God 
wishes them, without my knowing how this takes place. 
I find there is in me something which rejects the evil and 
approves the true good. It is the same in the practise of 
the virtues ; this upright spirit discerns at once the true 
virtue from that which is it not. It is, again, the same with 
the Saints of heaven as with those of earth. Our Lord 
makes me know that which constitutes the principal 
character of their sanctity ; who those are who have been 
more annihilated, or those whom God has sanctified by 
action : and when some prerogative is attributed to a Saint, 
and it is not the one which belongs to him, this central 
depth rejects it without my paying attention ; but as soon 
as that which belongs to them is said, it acquiesces. 

The 21st of August, 1688, it was thought I was about to 
be released from prison, and everything seemed arranged 
for it. Our Lord made me feel in my central depth that, 
far from intending to deliver me, it was new snares they 
were spreading for me, and that they were taking counsel 
together the better to destroy me ; that all they had done 
was only to make the King acquainted with Father La 
Mothe, and to give him an esteem for him. 

The 22nd at my Making, I was put i)ito a state of agony, 


like that of Jesus Christ agonizing and seeing the counsel 
of the Jews against him ; and the certainty of that plot was 
again given to me. I saw that there was none but you, 
my God, who could withdraw me from their hands. I 
comprehend that you will one day do it by your right hand ; 
but I am ignorant of the manner, and I abandon all things 
to you. I am yours, my Love, for time, and for eternity. 
My soul has long been completely independent of all 
which is not God : she has not need of any creature, 
and though she should be alone in the world, she 
would find herself infinitely content. Her indifference is 
entire and perfect, and she does not depend on anything 
whatsoever under the heaven : nothing but God occupies 
and fills her. This deadness of all desire, this powerless- 
ness to have need of any creature (I am not speaking of 
things necessary for a corporal life) and this perfect satiety 
exempt from all desire, because nothing is wanting, is the 
greatest mark of the entire possession of God, who alone 
as Sovereign Good can content the whole soul. 

One day, as I was thinking to myself how it happens 
that the soul who commences to be united to God, 
although she finds herself united to the Saints in God, 
has yet hardly any instinct to invoke them, it was put 
into my mind that servants have need of credit and inter- 
cessors, but the wife obtains all from her husband even 
without asking him for anything. He anticipates her with 
an infinite love. God, how little they know you ! 
They examine my actions ; they say I do not repeat the 
Chaplet, because I have no devotion to the Holy Virgin. 

divine Mary, you know how my heart is yours in God, 
and the union which God has made between us in himself, 
yet I cannot do anything but what Love makes me do. 

1 am altogether devoted to him and to his will. 

The Official came with the Doctor, the guardian of my 
children, and Father La Mothe, to speak to me of the 
marriage of my daughter. Father La Mothe, who heard 

206 MADAME GUYON. [Part HI. 

all this, did not say a word, except that he whispered to 
me (believing thereby to hide his part in the persecutions, 
and to persuade me he had no part in them) that I 
was detained in the convent only about the marriage of 
my daughter. I made little answer to him, and I treated 
him as civilly and as cordially as was possible ; our Lord 
giving me the grace easily for love of himself to treat him 
80. They said to Father La Mothe I had received him 
very well and they were edified at it. He answered that, 
while I was showing him outward civility, I was abusing 
him under my breath. He wrote the same to my brothers, 
saying I had strangely illtreated him. I declare I was 
surprised at such an invention, and I would not have 
believed that one could invent in such a way. 

God, who never abandons those who hope in him, has 
done that which he had made me know he would do for 
me by the hand of Madame de Maintenon. It happened 
in the way I am about to describe : which should make us 
marvel at the conduct of God, and the care he takes of 
those who are his, while he appears most to abandon them. 

God had permitted the affairs of my only uncle to fall 
into disorder. He had a daughter, a canoness of intelligence 
and merit. She had a very pretty little sister, and, as 
Madame de Maintenon had lately established a House for 
girls whose fathers were ruined in the service of the King, 
the canoness went to present her sister to Madame de 
Maintenon, who was very much pleased with her, and 
also with her own cleverness. She begged her to 
remain at the House until her little sister got used 
to it ; but when she had become acquainted with the 
cleverness and the capacity of the canoness, she engaged 
her to remain altogether, or at least for some time, 
begging her to see the House fairly started. Shall I say, 
oh my Love, that I believe you have done this only for 
me ? My cousin wished to speak in my favour to Madame 
de Maintenon, but she found her so prejudiced against me 


by calumny that she had the grief to see nothing could be 
done in this quarter. She let me know it. I remained 
very content in the will of God, with this rooted conviction, 
that nothing would be done except through Madame de 
Maintenon, and that this was the way of which God had 
resolved to make use. 

I remained then very peaceful, waiting the moment of 
the good God, when Madame de Miramion, who had been 
very much prejudiced against me, and who believed me 
very criminal, because my enemies had persuaded her of 
it, came by pure providence to the convent where I was. 
She had much esteem for the Prioress. She asked her 
if she believed me misled, as she had been told. The 
Prioress and the nuns told her a thousand good things 
about me, which their charity made them see. She 
was amazed, for she had been assured I caused great 
evils in this House. She resolved to serve me through 
pure charity, and to speak to Madame de Maintenon, and 
this had a good effect. But that which above all makes 
us marvel at the providence of God with regard to me is 
that the Abbess with whom I had placed that worthy girl, 
the nun, who has caused me so many crosses both at 
Gex, and because Father La Mothe's desire to get the 
money I had given for her dowry has been in part the 
cause of the persecution he stirred up against me — this 
Abbess, I say, found herself obliged to come to Paris 
for some business. She is a relative of Madame de 
Maintenon ; and as she had need of arranging with me 
for the dowry of that girl, she complained of the Arch- 
bishop's refusal to allow me to speak to her, and she 
explained it was a business of charity I was doing in 
favour of a poor girl, whom I was making a nun in 
her House. This gave an opportunity to Madame de 
Maintenon to speak for me, that I might be able to 
arrange with this Abbess. Being again entreated by 
my cousin, she spoke to the King, who said they should 


present him with a "Placet." It was brought to him, 
and, as it was the eve of St. Louis, I had an instinct 
to pray for the King that he might be enhghtened as 
to the truth. He ordered the Archbishop to set me at 
Hberty ; which not a little surprised and vexed him. I 
marvelled, my God, at your divine providence, and the 
markedly special springs of your adorable control ; since 
this same money, which has been the first source of all 
my troubles, through Father La Mothe's desire to have 
it, you have made, my God, the means of my liberty. 
This Abbess did much more, for by her authority she 
caused to be given to Father La Mothe, as it were in spite 
of himself, and while fearing his practices were discovered, 
a letter of esteem for my piety and the pious life I had led. 



As the Archbishop was not willing to have the worst of it, 
and my enemies, on seeing themselves powerless to hurt 
me, were only the more embittered, they resolved to 
inform the King that I could not be released until certain 
formalities had been observed. They wished to draw up 
a deed such as to make it appear that they were in 
the right, and to screen themselves from all inquiries that 
might hereafter be made against them ; and also to avoid 
the lie being given to them as to the forgeries and the 
reports they boasted of having against me, and their 
assertions that I had written and executed acts of re- 
tractation. The Official came on Wednesday, October 1,^ 
1688. After having taken the testimony of the Mother 
Superior as to my conduct in their convent, which she 
gave in the most distinct and favourable manner possible, 
he sent for me, and told me I must sign a deed which he 
had previously drawn up, and which he had had copied 
by his secretary. He produced two papers I had in truth 
myself given him on the 8th of February of the same year, 
1688, which had been used by me as memoirs, to answer 
certain things he asked me, and which papers he had 
inserted at full length in my interrogations ; but these he 
would never publish, lest my innocence should thereby be 
known, and people should see the frightful falsehoods 

' This must be a mistake for " September." See close of chapter, dated 
September 20th. 



■which had been concocted against me, and for which 
reparation was due. Moreover, these papers contained 
the assurance and the protestations I had made of never 
having wandered from the sentiments of the Holy Church 
— my good Mother, for which I was ready to give a thousand 
lives. In the deed which they presented to me, he had 
inserted that I had given him two deeds. I refused to 
sign it, and, on my refusal, the Doctor, who accompanied 
him, told him that this word " deed" was not proper for 
simple papers; that they must put "papers." He would 
not consent. It was necessary to put " memoirs " that I 
had recognized as coming from me. I saw clearly there 
was here some trick, and it was only for some evil purpose 
they brought me back two papers otherwise useless, since 
they were inserted at full length in my interrogation. 
Wherefore reproduce the two papers and suppress all the 
interrogations, unless to overreach me in some way? I 
said I would willingly sign that I had placed in his hands 
two memoirs of the 8th of February, 1688, provided they 
wrote the contents of the said memoirs ; but to say simply 
that I had given two memoirs, without explaining what 
they were, I would not do it ; that after all they had 
forged in my name, I ought to fear everything. He 
would not allow any explanation. He gave way to fearful 
violence against me, saying I should sign it, and swearing 
I was ruined if I did not do so. I had to waive this, in 
spite of all my reasons, to avoid their violence and with- 
draw myself from their hands. I requested that at least 
the Doctor who accompanied him should sign my papers, 
in order that they might not be able to substitute others 
in their place. He would not allow this. He signed them 
himself; but what use was that to me, since they remained 
in his hands ? They told me if I signed all they requested 
of me the door of the convent would infallibly be opened, 
but if I refused there was no longer any safety for me 
They wished to put into their deed that I had been in 


error ; and, in order to oblige me to sign a thing which I 
would rather have given my life than sign, they told me 
that every one makes mistakes — that this is what is meant 
by errors. I asked him if he meant to say "errata," as 
we read in books ; I would willingly do this, but as for 
"errors" I would never consent to that. He said to me 
gently enough, I should not make any difficulty ; that 
it was for my good ; that he asked this of me as the 
infallible means of withdrawing me from prison; that 
besides, St. Cyprian, whose fete was next day, had died 
in error, and he was none the less a saint ; that he himself, 
on becoming priest, had made a kind of abjuration of error, 
which he repeated to me in Latin. But when he saw 
I persisted in saying that I had never been in error, and 
that I would never sign if they inserted the word "error," 
he got into a frightful fury, declaring by his faith I should 
sign, or he would know the reason why, with frightful 
outbursts of violence to prove to me I was in error. 

They told me that the letter of Father Falconi de la 
Merci was prohibited at Rome, and that it had been 
inserted in the later editions of my book as if to support 
it. I answered that this letter, not being mine, was no 
proof that I was in error. I wished to make them write 
that I protested I had never wandered from the faith, and 
that I would give a thousand lives for the Church. They 
would not. He spoke to me again about my books, 
although I had submitted them, and asked me if I did 
not condemn them of error. I said that if sentiments that 
were not altogether orthodox had shpped in, I submitted 
them, as I had always done. He wanted to have put in, 
and he put it in spite of me, that I renounced all sorts of 
errors. I said to him, " But why put in that ? " He said 
if I did not put it he would say I was a heretic. Finally 
I had to waive that objection. He added, that I forbade all 
booksellers and printers to sell and distribute my books. 
I stopped him there, and said to him, if the books were 


not good let them forbid them, that I agreed to it ; but 
that, as for me, not having contributed to their printing, 
I had nothing to do in the matter. The Doctor, who saw 
the Official rise up in a strange fury, told me to let it 
pass, making me understand it was more important for 
me to get out of their hands. He told me afterwards he 
would give me, if I wished, a deed signed with his own 
hand, to the effect that he had advised me to sign. I was 
about then to sign, and I skipped one side of the sheet in 
order to have time for consultation. 

As the Abbess had permission to come and bring to me 
any one she pleased, I took advice ; for they had brought 
me back the paper which I had signed on one side, 
thinking it was a mistake. I was told I must at any price 
be got out of their hands, provided I did not insert that 
I had been in error. I said this was not in the deed, but 
that ** if in my books and writings there was error, I con- 
demned them with all my heart." They had thought to take 
me by surprise, but my God has not allowed it, making me 
see their end, in all they demanded of me. They wished 
to make me put, that if there was error in my books, as 
well those which openly appeared as in those which did 
not appear, I detested them. I said I had not written any 
book which did not appear. I knew they had set going 
a rumour that I had printed books in Holland, and they 
desired by this deed to make me admit that it was so. 
I said, then, I had not made any other book. To excuse 
himself, the Official said, that my writings were thick 
enough to pass for books, and he put "writings." The 
Doctor, who hardly dared to speak, told him, however, I was 
right. If he had insisted upon putting "I had errors" 
I would rather have let my head be cut off than sign it. 

Here are the contents of the paper I had given them 
February 8, 1688, of which, through the mercy of God, 
I had kept a duplicate, in order that those into whose 
hands these writings may fall may see the difference 


there is between these and those which have been foisted 
upon me. 

** I urgently intreat you, gentlemen, to write two 
things : first, that I have never deviated from the most 
orthodox opinions of the Holy Church; that I have 
never had private opinions of my own ; that I have never 
taken up with any party; that I am ready to give my 
blood and my life for the interests of the Church; that 
I have laboured all my life to strip myself of my own 
opinions, and to submit my intelligence and my will. 
The second, that I have never pretended to write anything 
which was not conformable to the opinions of the Holy 
Church ; that if through my ignorance anything not 
conformable to its opinions has slipped in, I renounce 
it, and I with all my heart submit to its decision, from 
which I never wish to deviate. That if I answer the inter- 
rogations put to me upon the little book, it is purely 
through obedience, and not to maintain or defend it, as 
I submit it with all my heart." 

I gave in that before the interrogation, and the one that 
follows some days later. It is without date. It was upon 
a matter they tried to persuade me of, namely that 
aU souls who have attained to union with God, fall into 
ecstasy, and that this union only took place in ecstasy. 
*' God can give a soul the same graces which produce 
ecstasy, although she does not lose the use of the external 
senses as in ecstasy, which only comes from weakness ; 
but she so loses all sight of self in the enjoyment of 
her Divine Object that she forgets all which concerns 
her. It is then that she no longer distinguishes any 
operation on her part. The soul seems then to do 
nothing but receive what is profusely given to her. She 
loves without being able to give an account of her love, and 
without being able to tell what passes in her at that 
moment. Only experience can make comprehensible that 
which God operates in a soul faithful to him. While 


receiving with all her heart, she corresponds so far as she 
is capable to the operations of her God, sometimes observ- 
ing him act with complaisance and love, at other times 
Bhe is so lost and hid in God with Jesus Christ that she no 
longer distinguishes her Object, which seems to absorb her 
in himself." There is also added in the paper which is not 
signed what follows: "I declare I am so much confused 
when interrogated, through fear of lying without thinking 
of it, or, rather, of making a mistake, that I know not what 
I say. It seems to me all interrogation ought to cease, 
since I give up everything and submit them entirely ; 
besides, not having the little book with me, I cannot men- 
tion the passages which justify and explain the propositions 
that might seem hard — as, for example, on the subject of 
penitences, I remember there is in the same chapter a 
passage where it is said, ' I do not pretend to disapprove 
penitences, since mortification ought to proceed at an equal 
pace with prayer, and even our Lord imposes on these 
persons penitences of all kinds, and such as those who 
are not conducted by that way would not even think of 
doing.' There may be many propositions which, in strict- 
ness, are open to condemnation, but which, after one has 
seen the sequel explaining them, appear very good. I do 
not say this to support those which may not be approved, 
but to point out that there are many which carry their 
explanation within them." 

I have forgotten to say that, when it was seen the nuns 
spoke much good of me and declared their esteem, my 
enemies and some of their friends came and told them 
that the fact of their having esteem for me was very inju- 
rious to their House : that it was said, I had corrupted 
them all and made them Quietists. They took alarm at 
this. The Prioress forbade the nuns to speak good of 
me ; so that, when I was again imprisoned, it was thought 
they had discovered much evil, and that made even my 
friends doubtful. I then saw myself rejected by all, and so 


abandoned by the whole world that it was only with pain 
they tolerated me in the House ; and even my friend, 
fearing the esteem she had for me might be injurious to 
her, gradually withdrew and became cold. It was then, 
my God, that I could well say you were all things to 
me. I saw the nature of human respect, which leads one 
to betray the known truth ; for at heart they esteemed me, 
yet, to keep themselves in repute, they pretended the 
opposite. Father La Mothe went and carried to the 
Jesuits forged letters of a frightful character that he said 
were from me ; and he said he was in despair at being 
obliged to speak against me ; and that it was through zeal 
for religion he renounced the friendship he owed me. 
Thereby he gained over Pere de la Chaise and almost all 
the Jesuits. 

I forget many circumstances which would be extremely 
pertinent, but my memory has not recalled them. If I 
could remember all your mercies, my God, and your 
conduct of me, one would be astonished and ravished at 
it, but you will that many things shall remain concealed in 
you. As you withdraw them from my memory, I will not 
seek them, for I should be grieved to write anything but 
what you give me, without my seeking it by reflection. I 
have again forgotten to say that, when I told the Official 
that with reason I was not willing they should insert that 
word " error," because I felt certain it was a snare, owing 
to their boasting they had in their hand a retraction, he 
told me he must have been a great fool not to make me put 
it in, and that the Archbishop would dismiss him, trying to 
make me understand they wanted that word for their justi- 
fication. Five days from that, he came to make me sign 
the second page. I would not have done it, being quite 
indifferent whether I remained as I was, provided I did 
your will, my God : but Madame de Maintenon sent 
me word to sign, and that she would inform the King 
of their violence ; that it was necessary to get me out of 


their hands. I signed then. After which I had the 
liberty of the cloister. 

The guardian of my children went to expedite the 
"lettre de cachet." You permitted, my God, by your 
providence, this letter to go astray for five days through a 
misunderstanding : that caused me again in this House 
ups and downs ; as for my heart and my soul they remained 
always at the same level. I have even had more perceptible 
joy on entering my prison than on leaving it. At last, on 
the eve of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the "lettre de 
cachet " was brought to me. I saw clearly, my Love, 
you wished the Cross to be exalted in me, and when I saw 
the "lettre de cachet " came at that time, it was to me a 
good augury. I saw the continual miracles of your provi- 
dence, and how you were conducting me bit by bit and 
with the hand. I saw you were taking care of me in the 
smallest matters, as a husband takes care of the wife he 
loves uniquely. Although all the time of my imprisonment 
had been each day an exercise of strange upsets, sometimes 
up and sometimes down, it is certain that the greatest was 
about the time of my release. My soul has never changed 
her situation, except as I have described. I have learned 
since I am at liberty, and even before, that a person who 
persecuted me had obtained an order to send me two 
hundred leagues from here, into a prison where I should 
nevermore have been heard of. You waited to save 
me, my God, until things were utterly desperate. I 
learned one morning that no one was willing to meddle in 
my affair — neither Madame de Maintenon nor my cousin. 
From that I received a very great joy ; and when the 
affair has been most desperate, then I have felt again a 
renewal of joy. Here, then, was I very happy, even when 
I learned they were striving to have me placed in 
perpetual imprisonment — and the measures were so well 
taken for it, that when the " lettre de cachet" was 
demanded from the secretary, after His Majesty's order 


bad been given to set me free, he inquired if it was 
not for tbat lady wbom tbey were about to transfer. 
God, how you overthrow the designs of men ! my 
Love, already I see the commencement of your promises 
accomplished : I do not doubt for the rest. 

The Abbess and my children's guardian came to fetch 
me, and manifested great joy ; as did all my friends. It 
was only the others who were extremely vexed at it. I 
went out, without feeling I was going out, and without 
being able to reflect on my deliverance. Yesterday morning 
I was thinking. But who are you ? what are you doing ? 
what are you thinking ? Are you alive, that you take no 
more interest in what affects you than if it did not affect 
you ? I am greatly astonished at it, and I have to apply 
myself to know if I have a being, a life, a subsistence. 
I do not know where I am. Externally I am like another ; 
but it seems to me I am like a machine that speaks and 
walks by springs, and which has neither life nor subsist- 
ence in what it does. This is not at all apparent externally. 
I act, I speak like another ; even in a manner more free 
and more large, which embarrasses no one, which pleases 
all ; without knowing either what I do, or what I say, nor 
why I do it, or say it, nor what causes me to say it. On 
leaving the convent they took me to the Archbishop, as 
a matter of form to thank him. It was indeed due to 
him for what he had made me suffer, for I do not doubt 
my God has been glorified by it. Then I went to see 
Madame de Miramion, who indeed was rejoiced at a thing 
to which she had not a little contributed. I there provi- 
dentially found Madame de Montchevreuil, who manifested 
much joy at seeing me delivered, and assured me Madame 
de Maintenon would have no less : which Madame de 
Maintenon herself showed every time we met. I wrote to 
her to thank her. A few days after my release, I went to 
St. Cyr to salute her. She received me most kindly, and 
in a marked manner. A few days before, she had declared 


to my cousin how much my letter had pleased her, and 
that in truth our Lord gave her for me sentiments of par- 
ticular esteem. I returned to see the Archbishop. He 
begged me to say nothing of what had passed. Father La 
Mothe, however, was in despair at my release ; but he 
always pretended the contrary to those who had access 
to me. He sent persons to spy me, and to surprise me 
in my words. I do not yet know what effect this will have. 
The Official begged Madame de Miramion not to receive 
me into her Community, and he came to tell me not to 
go there. That had not much effect, for this lady still 
declared her intention to take me to her House, where I 
am at the present moment. If God wills it, I shall one 
day write the continuation of a life which is not yet 
finished. This 20th of September, 1688. 

The desire I have had to obey and to omit nothing will 
have doubtless caused some repetitions ; they will at least 
serve to show you my exactness in what you order me, and 
that if I have omitted anything, it is either because I have 
not been able to express it, or through forgetfulness. 

Some days after my release, having heard mention 

of the Abbe de F , I was suddenly with extreme force 

and sweetness interested for him. It seemed to me our 
Lord united him to me very intimately, more so than any 
one else. My consent was asked for. I gave it. Then 
it appeared to me that, as it were, a spiritual filiation took 
place between him and me. The next day I had the 
opportunity of seeing him. I felt interiorly this first 
interview did not satisfy him : that he did not relish me. 
I experienced a something which made me long to pour 
my heart into his ; but I found nothing to correspond, 
and this made me suffer much. In the night I suffered 
extremely about him. In the morning I saw him. We 
remained some time in silence, and the cloud cleared off a 
little ; but it was not yet as I wished it. I suffered for 
eight whole days ; after which, I found myself united to 


him without obstacle, and from that time I find the union 
increasing in a pure and ineffable manner. It seems to 
me that my soul has perfect rapport with his, and those 
words of David regarding Jonathan, that " his soul clave 
to that of David," appeared to me suitable for this union. 
Our Lord has made me understand the great designs he 
has for this person, and how dear he is to him. 



I SHOULD be unable to write anything more regarding my 
inner state ; I will not do it, having no words to express 
what is entirely disconnected from all that can fall under 
feeling, expression, or human conception. I shall only 
say that, after the state when I came back to life, I found 
myself for some years, before being placed in what is 
called the Apostolic state — that of a Mission to help others, 
the selfhood having been entirely consumed in the purga- 
tory I had passed through — I found myself, I say, in a 
happiness equal to that of the Blessed, save for the 
Beatific Vision ; nothing here below affected me ; and 
neither at present do I see anything in heaven or in earth 
which can trouble me as regards myself. The happiness 
of a soul in this state cannot be understood without 
experience, and those who die without being employed in 
helping their neighbours, die in supreme felicity ; although 
overwhelmed with external crosses. But when it pleased 
God to honour me with his Mission, he made me under- 
stand that the true father in Jesus Christ, and the Apostolic 
pastor, must suffer like him for men, bear their languors, 
pay their debts, clothe himself with their weaknesses. 
In truth, God does not do these sorts of things without 
asking from the soul her consent ; but how sure he is this 
soul will not refuse him what he asks ! He himself inclines 
the heart for that he wishes to obtain. It seems he then 


impresses upon it these words : " I was happy, I possessed 
glory, I was God; but I have quitted all that, I have 
subjected myself to pain, to contempt, to ignominy, to 
punishment. I became man to save man. If thou art 
willing to finish what remains lacking of my Passion and 
that I should make in thee an extension of my quality of 
Eedeemer, it is necessary thou consent to lose the 
happiness thou dost enjoy; to be subjected to wants, to 
weaknesses, in order to bear the languors of those with 
whom I shall charge thee, to pay their debts, and finally to 
be exposed, not only to all the interior pains from which 
thou hast been delivered for thyself, but to all the most 
violent persecutions. If I had remained in my private life, 
I should never have suffered any persecution ; only those 
are persecuted who are employed to help souls." There 
was needed, then, a consent of immolation to enter into 
all the designs of God regarding the souls he destines for 

He made me understand that he did not call me, as 
had been thought, to a propagation of the external of the 
Church, which consists in winning heretics, but to the 
propagation of his Spirit, which is no other than the 
interior Spirit, and that it would be for this Spirit I 
should suffer. He does not even destine me for the first 
conversion of sinners ; but to introduce those who are 
already touched with the desire of being converted, into 
the perfect conversion, which is none other than this 
interior Spirit. Since that time our Lord has not charged 
me with any soul without having asked my consent, and, 
after having accepted that soul in me, without having 
immolated me to suffer for her. It is well to explain the 
nature of this suffering, and the difference between it and 
what one suffers on one's own account. 

The nature of this suffering is something most inward, 
most powerful, and most special. It is an excessive 
torment, one knows not where it is, nor in what part of the 


soul it resides. It is never caused by reflection, nor can 
it produce any. It causes neither disturbance, nor embar- 
rassment ; it does not purify : and, for this reason, the soul 
finds it gives her nothing. Its excess does not hinder an 
enjoyment, without enjoyment, and a perfect peace. It 
takes away nothing from the sense of largeness. One is 
not ignorant that it is for souls one is suffering, and 
very often one knows the person : one finds one's self 
during this time united to him in a painful manner, as a 
criminal is attached to the instrument of his punish- 
ment. One often bears the weaknesses that those persons 
ought to feel ; but ordinarily it is a general indistinct 
pain, which oftentimes has a certain relation to the heart 
causing extreme pain to the heart, but violent pains, 
as if one pressed it, or pierced it with a sword : this 
pain, purely spiritual, has its seat in the same place 
which is occupied by the Presence of God. It is more 
powerful than all corporal pains, and it is yet so 
insensible, and so removed from sentiment, that the 
person who is overwhelmed by it, if he was capable of 
reflection, would believe that it has no existence, and that 
he is deceiving himself. Since God willed me to par- 
ticipate in the Apostolic state, what have I not suffered ! 
But however excessive my sufferings, and whatever weak- 
ness I may have had in the senses, I have never desired 
to be delivered from it : on the contrary, the charity for 
those souls augments in proportion as the suffering 
becomes greater, and the love one has for them increases 
with the pain. 

There are two kinds of pains : the one caused by the 
actual unfaithfulness of the souls ; the other, which is 
for the purpose of purifying them and making them 
advance. The former contracts the heart, afflicts it, 
weakens the sentiments, causes a certain agony, and 
as it were a pulling ; just as if God were drawing it to 
one side and the soul to the other, so that it tore the 


heart : this pain is more insupportable than any other, 
although it is not more deep. The pain of purification 
for another is a general indistinct pain, which tranquillizes 
and unites with the person for whom one sujffers, and with 
God. It is a difference which experience alone can make 
intelligible. Every one with experience will understand 
me. Nothing equals what one suffers for persons, who 
very often are ignorant of it, or for others, who far from 
being grateful, have a repugnance to those who are con- 
suming themselves for them through charity. All this 
does not diminish that charity, and there is not any death 
or torment one would not suffer with the utmost pleasure, 
to make them what God desires. 

The divine justice applied to a soul to make her suffer 
while purifying others, does not cease to make her suffer, 
when it is for an actual unfaithfulness, until this unfaith- 
fulness has ceased. It is not the same in the case of 
purification : that takes place at intervals, and one has 
a respite after having suffered. One finds one acquires 
a certain ease with that soul, which shows that what one 
has suffered has purified and, for the present moment, 
placed the soul in the condition God wishes her. When 
the souls are in the right path and nothing arrests them 
this goes on quite evenly; but when they are arrested, 
there is something within which makes it known. 

The justice of God causes suffering from time to time 
for certain souls until their entire purification. As soon 
as they have arrived where God wishes them, one suffers 
no longer anything for them ; and the union which had 
been often covered with clouds, is cleared up in such a 
manner that it becomes like a very pure atmosphere, pene- 
trated everywhere, without distinction, by the light of the 

sun. As M. has been given to me in a more intimate 

manner than any other, what I have suffered, what I am 
suffering, and what I shall suffer for him, surpasses any- 
thing that can be told. The least partition between biiu 


and me, between him and God, is like a little dirt in the 
eye, which causes it an extreme pain, and which would not 
inconvenience any other part of the body where it might 
be put. What I suffer for him is very different from what 
I suffer for others ; but I am unable to discover the cause, 
unless it be, God has united me to him more intimately 
than to any other, and that God has greater designs for 
him than for the others. 

When I am suffering for a soul, and I merely hear the 
name of this person pronounced, I feel a renewal of 
extreme pain. Although for many years I am in a state 
equally naked and void in appearance, owing to the depth 
of the plenitude, nevertheless, I am very full. Water 
filling a basin to the utmost limits it can contain, offers 
nothing to distinguish its plenitude ; but when one pours 
in more upon it, it must discharge itself. I never feel 
anything for myself, but when anything stirs that depth, 
infinitely full and tranquil, this makes the plenitude felt 
with such excess that it gushes over on the senses. This 
is the reason that makes me avoid hearing certain 
passages read or repeated : not that anything comes to 
me by external things, but it is that a word heard stirs 
the depth : anything said of the truth, or against the truth, 
stirs it in the same way, and would make it break out if 

It may be thought that, because, during all the time, 
while faith is pleasant to the taste, one has difficulty in 
reading, what I speak of here will be the same thing ; that 
would be a mistake. In these last states it is impossible 
to avoid using an expression which has some signification 
analogous to that of the earlier states, owing to the paucity 
of terms, and only experience can clear up all this : for all 
persons who are in the states of simple faith, accompanied 
by some support, and some deep savour, believe themselves 
at the point I mention. These last are concentrated, or 
rather feel stirring in them through reading or what is 


said to them, a certain occupation of God, which closes 
their mouth and often the eyes, preventing them from 
pursuing the reading. It is not the same here : here it 
is an overflowing of plenitude, a bursting up from a brim- 
ming depth, always full for all the souls who have need 
of drawing water from this plenitude : here it is the divine 
reservoir, where the children of Wisdom incessantly draw 
what is needed for them, when they are well disposed ; not 
that they always feel what they draw there, but I indeed feel 
it. The things which are written must not be interpreted 
according to the strictness of the words ; for, if so under- 
stood, there is hardly a perfected state which a soul of a 
certain degree might not believe herself to have experienced : 
but patience ; she will herself hereafter see this infinite 
difference. Even souls of the inferior degree will often 
appear more perfect than those souls perfected in love 
and through love ; because God, who wills these last to live 
with other men, and to withdraw from them the sight of 
so great a treasure, covers their exterior with visible weak- 
nesses, which, like mean dirt, cover infinite treasures, and 
prevent their loss. 

If God had not entirely separated the exterior of these 
souls from their interior, they could no longer converse 
with men. One experiences that in the new life. It 
seems nothing more remains than to die. One finds 
one's self so remote from the rest of men, and they think 
so differently from what one thinks, that the neighbour 
would become insupportable ; the soul would then willingly 
say, " my God, let your servant die in peace, since mine 
eyes have seen my Saviour." Souls arrived at this point 
are in an actual accomplished perfection, and they ordinarily 
die in this state, when they are not destined to aid others ; 
but when they are so destined, God divides the Godlike 
central depth from the exterior, and hands over the 
exterior to childlike weaknesses, which keeps the soul in 
a continual abstraction and total ignorance of what she 



is; unless this central depth, of which we have spoken, 
should be stirred, and that for the good of others : then one 
has a strange experience, but to tell what it is baffles 
expression. The exterior weaknesses of those souls serve 
them as a covering, and even hinder them from serving as 
support to others in the path of death, by which they are 
conducting them. They are all childlike weaknesses. If 
the souls who are conducted by those persons could 
penetrate below this weak exterior, to the depth of their 
grace, they would regard them with too much respect, and 
would not die to the support that such a conducting would 
afford them. If the Jews had penetrated beneath the 
commonplace exterior of Jesus Christ, they would never 
have persecuted him, and they would have been in a state 
of continual admiration. These persons are a paradox 
both to their own eyes and to the eyes of all who see 
them; for one sees in them only a coarse bark, though 
oftentimes there proceeds from it a divine sap ; and thus 
those who will judge of them by the eyes of reason, know 
not how to go about it. Oh divine wisdom, oh savoury 
knowledge, you flow incessantly from the heart and from 
the mouth of these souls, like a stream of divine sap, 
which communicates life to an infinity of branches, 
although one sees only a coarse and moss-covered bark. 
** What do you see in the Shulamite," this choice soul, 
you others who are watching her, says the sacred Bride- 
groom, "except the companies of an army in array?" 
No, you will only see that in her. Do not therefore form 
any judgment, oh you who are not thus far, and be assured 
that, " although I am black I am very beautiful; that my 
sun, by his burning looks, has discoloured me in this way 
to preserve me for himself, and to withdraw me from the 
sight of all creatures." To attack those souls is to wound 
the heart of God. To judge them is to judge God. Those 
who do it err in their judgments. It is this which 
makes them dare, as the Apostle St. Jude says, to utter 


maledictions against holy things, and to blaspheme the 
sacred mysteries of the interior. The soul in this state knows 
nothing of herself, as she is unknown by others. When 
she speaks or writes touching herself, she does it as in the 
case of divine things — she speaks and writes only by the 
actual light given at the present moment, and which lasts 
only as long as is necessary for her speaking or writing, 
without any possibility of her seeing or thinking afterwards 
of that which she previously saw; unless, indeed, the 
actual light of it should be restored. It is like a person 
to whom one opens a cabinet, full of treasures, who sees 
them as long as it is open, and ceases to see them when 
it is shut again. Therefore this soul is the fountain 
sealed ; the Bridegroom alone opens : no one else shuts ; 
no one else opens. Such a soul has no care for honour, 
wealth, or life ; not only as to the will, but as to the real 
practice : therefore she has no longer anything to be 
careful for. If she was not such, she would be unable to 
serve souls in all the extent of the designs of God. The 
least circumspection hinders the effect of grace. Oh, how 
few are the souls who are willing to give themselves up 
for another without any self-respecting regard or reflection, 
ready to do and to suffer for others ! The charity of an 
Apostolic soul cannot be understood. It is the charity of 
Jesus Christ himself. Oh, depth of this charity, free from 
zeal and feeling, who would be able to comprehend thee ? 

All the greatest crosses come in this Apostolic state (if 
one can call them crosses), because hell and all men are 
stirred up to hinder the good which is being done in souls. 
If Jesus Christ had not come out from his private life, he 
would not have been persecuted by the Jews and crucified. 
If God left these souls concealed in the secret of his coun- 
tenance, they would be secure from the persecution of 
men. But how cheerfully would one suffer the wheel or 
the fire even for a single soul ! We must not be as- 
tonished if the devils stir up all the regions of their 


dominion against Apostolic souls. It is because the Devil 
well knows that one soul of this kind, once listened to, would 
destroy his empire. All devotions hurt him but moder- 
ately, for in the self-love of the devout he gets compensa- 
tion for what they make him lose by their regulated 
practices ; but there is nothing to be gained by him from 
a soul devoted to the truth of God and to his pure love, 
who allows herself to be annihilated by the sovereign 
dominion of God, and who, no longer subsisting in herself, 
gives full power to God continually to extend more widely 
his empire. The Devil cannot approach these souls except 
at a distance. The rage with which he is animated against 
them has no bounds. Oh, how mistaken we are when we 
judge devotion by exterior actions ! To be devout, or to 
be devoted to God, we must have neither choice nor pre- 
ference for one action more than for another. People 
form ideas and imagine that a soul which is God's in a 
certain manner, ought to be such and such ; and when 
they see the opposite to the ideas they had formed for 
themselves, they conclude God is not there ; while it is 
often where he especially is. Oh, sovereign independence 
of my God ! you would not be God if you did not know 
how to glorify yourself by that which apparently dishonours 
you. God has his pleasure in all which renders us supple 
and small. He values not any virtue so much as to have 
in his hand a soul which he may elevate to the clouds and 
bury in the mire without her changing her situation in the 
slightest. A state which depends upon some goodness 
which one may distinguish or conceive, is indeed a virtuous 
state, but not a divine state. 

There are the saints of the Lord, who are sanctified, 
not like other saints by the practice of virtues, but 
by the Lord himself, and by an unlimited suppleness, 
which is the real possession of all virtue. They are 
all the more the saints of God, since they are only 
holy in him and for him. They are holy in his style, 


not in the style of men. my Love, you have so 
many souls who serve you in order to be holy : make 
for yourself a troop of children who serve you because 
you are holy ; who serve you in your style ! These 
are the children for whom you have sanctified your- 
self, and that suffices for them. Oh, what a horrible 
monster, Selfhood ! Yes, my God, let me at least be the 
plaything of your will ! Let there be neither virtue nor 
sanctity for me, but singing with the Church, ** Thou 
alone art holy," let me sing the same thing for myself, 
and for those you have given me ; in order that you may 
be glorified and sanctified, not in them, but in you and 
for you. pure Love, to what dost thou reduce thy 
subject ! 

The souls of which I speak are incapable of any sort 
of preference or predilection : but they are moved by a 
necessity, which, not being in them, for they are free, has 
its seat in God himself, after the sacrifice of this same 
liberty. They have not any natural love, but an infinite 
charity, applied and stirred more powerfully for certain 
subjects than for others, according to the design of God, 
the need of the persons, and the closeness of the union 
that God wills they should have with them. This strong, 
even apparently ardent love, is not in the powers as other 
inclinations ; but in that same central depth which is 
God himself. He governs as a sovereign and inclines 
this same central depth, indistinguishably from himself, 
towards the thing he wishes one should love, and to 
which one is united ; and this love is he ; so that it 
cannot be distinguished from God, although it terminates 
in a particular subject. This central depth stirred 
towards this person, causes an attraction towards him as 
if towards God ; and as everything which stirs this central 
depth renders God perceptible (which otherwise he would 
not be, owing to the transformation), so the radical 
inclination stirred towards that creature renders God 


perceptible, but in a manner so much the more powerful, 
more pure, more detached from the sensible, as the soul 
is in an eminent degree. One feels something which 
might seem to have relation to this from the commence- 
ment of the way, where everything which carries us 
towards God causes a sensible inclination emanating from 
God ; but these things are in the senses, or in the powers, 
according to the degree of the soul. It is not at all that 
which I mean. This is in the very central depth inac- 
cessible to any other than God himself. 

There is no state so perfected which a soul in these 
commencements might not attribute to herself, especially 
those who, in the language of Scripture, " go from faith 
to faith." For as one has from the commencement the 
firstfruits of the Spirit, and it is the same faith which 
grows deeper and purifies itself, expands and spreads until 
the perfect consummation, it is also the same from the 
commencement, and has almost the same efifects. All 
the difference is, that it resides in the powers all along 
the way, until it loses itself in the inmost central depth, 
which is none other than God himself, who perfects 
everything in his divine unity. Even the interior move- 
ment which ought to be the sole director of souls of faith, 
discovers itself from the commencement in those persons 
destined to an eminent faith. This movement is more 
sensible, more distinct, more in the powers at the com- 
mencement ; but finally it is this which directs and leads 
them to mortify themselves, to renounce themselves, to 
speak and to keep silence, to strip themselves until it 
destroys them with itself in that God-depth. Then it 
changes its nature, and becomes in such a way natural 
that it loses all which made it distinguished apart from 
God : then the creature acts as naturally as she breathes, 
her suppleness is infinite. 

It is well to explain here a matter which might cause 
great mistakes to souls. It is, that the soul sunk in God, 


and become infinitely supple in relation to God, may 
seem either reserved, or to have difficulty in saying certain 
things to others. It is not now a defect which is in her 
in regard to herself, but this constraint comes from the 
person to whom one should speak : for God makes felt 
as if by anticipation, all the dispositions of the soul to 
whom one should speak : and although that soul, if one 
asked, would assert confidently, there was no repugnance 
to receive what should be said (because, in fact, the will 
is so disposed), yet it is certain that, whatever the good will, 
the matters are repugnant, whether because they exceed 
the present scope of that person, or because there are 
still lurking secret ideas of a virtue based on reason. It 
is, therefore, the narrowness of the person to whom one 
speaks which causes the repugnance to speak. Moreover 
the exterior state of childhood has a thousand little 
things which might pass for unfaithfulnesses, similar to 
those of persons who through self-love do not say the 
things which are distasteful to them ; but it is easy to 
see that this is not the case, because they have passed 
through a state which did not permit them reserve of a 
thought, whatever it might cost. Souls of this state 
must be judged by that which God has made them pass 
through, rather than by what one sees ; for otherwise one 
would judge them in relation to one's own state, and not 
by that which they are. That which is weak in God is 
stronger than the greatest strength, because this weakness 
does not come from not having acquired all strength, 
virtuous and understood by reason ; but because, having 
infinitely passed beyond this, it is lost in the divine 
strength, and this it is which causes those opposites, that 
unite so well although they appear incompatible, of the 
divine strength and of the child's weakness. 
A.D. 1688. 



On leaving St. Mary's I went to Madame de Miramion. 
Those who were the cause of my having been placed at 
St. Mary's opposed this, and told me it was more suitable 
that I should retire into a private house. As I penetrated 
their intention, which was no other than to commit new 
forgeries, in order to have the opportunity of causing me 
fresh trouble, I remained firm in the resolution to enter 
into the Community of that lady. As soon as they saw 
they could not succeed with me, and that I wished to 
live in a Community, they bethought themselves to write 
to Madame de Miramion, assuring her that they them- 
selves saw me go, at least once a week, to Faubourg St. 
Marceau, into discredited houses, and that I held assem- 
blies. Father La Mothe was the author of these letters, 
and maintained that, being unwilling to credit it, he had 
been there several times during the last month, and that 
he had always seen me enter those houses. It is to be 
remarked that I had never been to the Faubourg St. 
Marceau, and that for three months I was confined to bed, 
where every day an abscess 1 had in the eye was dressed ; 
besides I had a very severe fever during that time. 
Madame de Miramion, who was almost always present 
when they treated me, and who knew I did not leave the 
bed, was very indignant at this proceeding ; so that when 
Father La Mothe came to see her, to confirm what he had 


written, and to add still further calumnies, as to things 
which, he said, I had done within eight days, she spoke 
very strongly to him on the blackness of his accusations, 
assuring him she believed all that had been told her of 
the malignity he had practised on me ; as she herself was 
witness that, for three months, I had not been able even 
to leave the bed, or go to the Mass in their chapel, and 
since I was with her I had not gone out four times ; and 
then, it was a responsible member of my family who had 
come to fetch me in the morning and bring me back in 
the evening. When he saw himself so ill received, he 
endeavoured to put other machines in motion. He com- 
plained everywhere, I had caused him to be ill-treated by 
Madame de Miramion ; although I was then ignorant of 
what passed, and only knew it some time afterwards, 
when, being recovered, Madame de Miramion showed me 
the letters. 

That affection of the eye made me suffer much, and 
God gave me great patience. In my sufferings my dis- 
position has always been a strong patience, and I blame 
myself for having made it too apparent. It would have 
been better to have made some slight complaint, while yet 
content to suffer everything without a wish that the pain 
should diminish. This is more free from self-love, and does 
not attract so much esteem from others. Childlike sim- 
plicity allows nature some complaint, especially when one 
no longer complains through the life of nature ; for other- 
wise as long as nature lives through its complaints, and has 
a secret joy in attracting compassion, all complaint must be 
checked : but when it has no longer life in this, something of 
the selfhood is found in that admirable strength, which does 
not permit a sigh under the most violent pains ; then one 
should complain in a small humble way, without affecting 
anything, or keeping back anything. When the soul is 
again become a child, she acts as a child. It is the same in 
eating certain things : although one swallows equally the 


sweet and the bitter, there is a slight spiritual selfhood in 
taking without a word things which those who give them 
to you know to be very bad. Thus there are hidden folds 
in things that appear virtues, which cannot escape the 
pure eye of divine Love. 

My daughter was married at Madame de Miramion's, 
and, owing to her extreme youth, I was obliged to go and 
remain some time with her. I lived there two years and 
a half. What made me leave her was the desire I had 
to withdraw into a convent and to live there unknown ; but 
God, who had other designs for me, did not permit it, as 
I shall tell in the sequel. While I was with my daughter 
the persecution did not cease. They were constantly in- 
venting something against me. When I was in the country 
with her, they said I instructed the peasants, although 
I saw none of them. If I was in the town, according to 
their story, they made me receive persons, or else I went 
to see them ; and yet I neither saw them, nor knew them. 
All these things joined to the inclination I had all my life 
to pass it in retreat, determined me to write to the Mother 
Prioress of the Benedictines of Montargis, that I wished 
to end my days with her, unknown to everybody, without 
seeing there even any nun but her : and without the 
outside world, or my family, or any one in the world 
knowing anything of it. We had agreed upon the matter, 
and I was to be given a small apartment, where there 
was a closet with a lattice opening over the altar, and a 
little garden at the foot. It was what I wanted. The 
confessor was to be trusted, and I would have commu- 
nicated in the morning by a little lattice on the days 
I should have made my devotions. This project made 
and accepted, I sent my furniture in advance ; but as 
the Mother Prioress spoke of it to her Archbishop, he 
did not keep the secret. My friends and my enemies, if 
so one may call persons to whom one wishes no ill, opposed 
my project with very different views : the former, not 


to lose me altogether ; and the latter, in order to ruin me, 
and not allow their prey to escape. They considered 
that a life such as I wished to lead would give the lie to 
all the calumnies they had hitherto invented, and take 
from them all means of persecuting me more. I saw 
myself, then, obliged by both, who praj^ed the Archbishop 
to forbid my being received, to live in the world, in spite 
of my aversion for the world ; and to be still the mark 
for the contradiction of men, the object of their calumnies, 
the plaything of Divine Providence. I then knew God was 
not content with the little I had suffered, and that he was 
about to raise against me strange hurricanes : but as it is 
almost impossible for me not to desire all that God desires, 
I submitted cheerfully, and I made him an entire sacrifice 
of myself; too happy to pay by such slight pains what 
I owed to his justice, and too honoured by being in some 
sort conformed to the image of his Son. 

It may be thought strange that I say I made a sacrifice 
to God, after having in so many places noticed that I no 
longer found a will in me, or repugnance for anything 
that God would desire. Yet it is certain when God wishes 
to charge the soul with new crosses, different from those 
she has had, and to make her bear heavier ones, however 
conformed she may be to the will of God, yet, as he respects 
the freewill he himself has given man, he still obtains 
her consent, which never fails to be given. This I believe 
it is which makes the sufferings of these persons have 
some merit owing to the free consent of the will. We have 
examples of it in Jesus Christ, " who for the joy set before 
him endured the cross ; " and David, speaking of Jesus 
Christ, says, " Sacrifices are not agreeable to you, therefore 
I have said. Here am I ; you have given me a body, and 
there it is written at the head of the book, I will do your 
will." The same Jesus Christ, at the time of his death 
and of his agony, did he not make a striking immolation : 
"Not my will, but yours"? Did not the angel ask the 


consent of Mary to be the mother of the Word ? Did she 
not immolate him upon the cross, where she remained 
standing like a priest assisting at the sacrifice that the 
High Priest after the order of Melchizedek made of him- 

Some time before the marriage of my daughter, I had 

become acquainted with the Abbe F , as I have already 

said, and the family into which she had entered being 
among his friends, I had the opportunity of seeing him 
there many times. We had some conversations on the 
subject of the inner life, in which he offered many objec- 
tions to me. I answered him with my usual simplicity, 
and I had reason to believe he had been satisfied. As the 
affairs of Molinos were making great noise at that time, 
people had conceived distrust on the most simple things, 
and on terms the most common with those who have 
written on these matters. That gave me opportunity to 
thoroughly explain to him my experiences. The difiiculties 
he offered only served to make clear to him the root of 
my sentiments ; therefore no one has been better able to 
understand them than he. This it is which, in the sequel, 
has served for the foundation of the persecution raised 
against him, as his answers to the Bishop of Meaux have 
made known to all persons who have read them without 

Having left my daughter, I took a small secluded house, 
to follow there the disposition I had for retreat. I confined 
myself to seeing my family, who hardly inconvenienced 
me, and a small number of friends, whom I saw there only 
at long intervals — the greater part not ordinarily residing 
at Paris. Since my release from St. Mary's, I had con- 
tinued to go to St. Cyr, and some of the girls of that 
House having declared to Madame de Maintenon that in 
the conversations I had with them they found something 
which led them to God, she permitted them to put con- 
fidence in me ; and on many occasions she testified, owing 


to the change of some with whom hitherto she had not 
been satisfied, that she had no cause for repenting it. She 
then showed me much kindness, and, during three or four 
years that this lasted, I received from her every mark of 
esteem and confidence ; but it is this very thing in the 
sequel which has drawn down upon me the greatest per- 
secution. The entree Madame de Maintenon gave me 
at St. Cyr, and the confidence shown me by some young 
ladies of the court, distinguished by their rank and by 
their piety, began to cause uneasiness to the persons who 
had persecuted me. They stirred up the directors to take 
offence, and, under the pretence of the troubles I had had 
some years before, and of the great progress, as they said, 
of Quietism, they engaged the Bishop of Chartres, Superior 
of St. Cyr, to represent to Madame de Maintenon that I 
disturbed the order of her House by a private Direction ; 
and that the girls whom I saw were so strongly attached 
to what I said to them, that they no longer listened to 
their Superiors. Madame de Maintenon caused me to be 
told in a kindly way. I ceased to go to St. Cyr. I no 
longer answered the girls who wrote to me, except by open 
letters, which passed through the hands of Madame de 

A person of my acquaintance, a particular friend of 
Monsieur Nicole, had heard him often declaim against 
me, without knowing me ; and he thought it would be easy 
to make him get over his prejudice if I could have some 
interviews with him, and by this means to disabuse many 
persons with whom he had relations, and who declared 
themselves in the most open manner hostile to me. That 
person urged me strongly to it, and, notwithstanding the 
repugnance I at first felt, certain of my friends, to whom 
I made known the urgency employed with me for this 
purpose, advised me to see him. As his ailments did not 
permit him to go out, I promised, after some civilities on 
his part, to pay him a visit. He at once referred to the 


" Short Method," and told me that little book was full of 
errors. I proposed to him we should read it together, and 
begged him to kindly tell me those which struck him, and 
that I hoped to remove his difficulties. He told me he 
was quite willing, and commenced to read the little book, 
chapter by chapter, with much attention ; and when I 
asked him if there was nothing in what we had just read 
which struck him, or caused him trouble, he answered, 
*' No; that what he was looking for was further on." We 
went through the book, from one end to the other, without 
his finding anything that struck him. Oftentimes he said 
to me, " Here are the most beautiful comparisons possible." 
At last, having long sought the errors he thought he had 
seen in it, he said to me, " Madame, my talent is to write, 
and not to hold such discussions, but if you will see one 
of my friends, he will state his difficulties to you, and you 
will perhaps be very glad to profit by his light ; he is very 
clever, and a very good man. You will not be sorry to 
make his acquaintance, and he understands all this better 
than I. It is Monsieur Boileau, of the Hotel Luines." I 
excused myself for some time, to avoid controversies, which 
did not suit me, not pretending to defend the little book, 
and letting it pass for what it was worth. But he pressed 
me so strongly, I could not refuse him. Monsieur Nicole 
proposed to me to take a house near him, and to go to con- 
fession to Father de la Tour, and spoke to me as if he had 
much wished me to be of his friends, and connected with 
his party. I answered all his proposals as civilly as 
possible ; but I let him know that the little property I had 
kept for myself did not allow me to hire the house he 
proposed ; that, wishing to live in a perfect retreat, the 
distance of that I occupied put it beyond my power to see 
there much society, which was in accordance with my 
inclination ; and that, not having a carriage, the same 
distance offered an obstacle to the proposal he made me 
of going to confession to Father de la Tour, because he 


lived at one end of Paris, and I at the other. We parted 
none the less good friends, and I knew he greatly praised 
me to some persons to whom he had spoken of my visit. 

A few days after, I saw M. Boileau, as he had wished 
it. He spoke to me of the " Short Method." I repeated 
to him what I have so often said, of the disposition 
in which I had composed that little book, and of that in 
which I still was regarding it. He told me he was truly 
persuaded of the sincerity of my intentions, but that this 
little book, being in the hands of a great many people, 
might injure many pious souls, through the mischievous 
consequences that might be deduced from it. I begged 
him to be so kind as to tell me the passages which caused 
him trouble, and I said I hoped to remove his difficulties. 
We read the little book, and while reading he told me the 
difficulties he found. I explained the matter to him, so 
that he appeared to be satisfied ; after which he no longer 
insisted. Thus we went through the whole book — he 
insisting more or less on the passages that stopped him, 
and I explaining to him simply my thoughts and my 
experience, without disputing on matters of doctrine, in 
which I relied on him entirely, as more capable than I of 

This discussion finished, he said to me, " Madame, 
there would have been no difficulty with regard to this 
little book, if you had explained things somewhat more 
fully, and it might be very good if you explain in a 
preface that which is not clear in the book;" and he urged 
me strongly to work at it. I answered him, that never 
having had the intention of making public this little book 
(^which was properly only a private instruction I had 
written at the entreaty of one of my friends, who had 
asked it from me, in consequence of some conversations 
we had had together on the matter), I had not been able to 
foresee either that it would be printed, or that the meanings 
he had just explained to me could be put upon it ; but 


that I would always be ready to give the explanations 
that should be desired, in order to remove objections that 
might be taken to it. He greatly praised me, and made 
me promise that I would explain, in a sort of preface, 
the difficulties he had proposed, after which, he assured 
me, the book might be good and useful. I did this some 
days afterwards, and sent him an explanation, with which 
he appeared very well satisfied. I saw him again, once 
or twice, and he urged me to have the little book reprinted 
with this preface. I represented to him, that this little 
book had furnished the pretext for the persecution and 
troubles I had been exposed to ; that it was not suitable 
for me to put myself forward as the author ; that I did 
not think I ought to contribute to the printing of this any 
more than of the former ; but the strongest reason I had, 
was the promise I had given the Archbishop not to write 
any more on this subject. He approved my resolution, 
and we separated very well satisfied with one another. 

I fell ill some time after, and as the nature of my ail- 
ment was little understood by the doctors, they pre- 
scribed the waters of Bourbon, after having in vain tried 
to cure me by ordinary remedies. It was a very strong 
poison, which had been given me : a servant had been 
gained over for the purpose. Immediately after he gave 
it, I suffered such violent pains that, without prompt 
help, I should have died in a few hours. The lacquey at 
once disappeared, and has not since been seen. That 
he had been instigated to do it, many circumstances 
proved ; which I do not mention for the sake of brevity. 

While I was at Bourbon, the water I threw up burned 
like spirits of wine. As I take no care of myself I should 
not have thought I had been poisoned, if the Bourbon 
doctors, after throwing the water on the fire, had not 
assured me of it. The mineral waters gave me little 
benefit, and I still suffered for seven years and a half. 
Since then people have three or four times tried to poison 


me. God preserved me through his goodness, and by the 
presentiments he gave me of it. This illness and the 
journey to Bourbon caused me to lose sight of M. Nicole, 
of whom I no longer heard mention, except that, about 
seven or eight months afterwards, I learned he had com- 
posed a book against me on the subject of that little book 
we had read together, with which both he and his friend 
had appeared satisfied by the explanations I had given 
them : I believe his intentions were good ; but one of my 
friends, who read that book, told me that the quotations 
were not exact, and that he had little understanding of the 
subject on which he had written. Shortly afterwards, I 
learned that Dom Francis L'Ami, a Benedictine of merit, 
well known, with whom I was not acquainted, a friend of 
M. Nicole, struck by the little solidity in his book, had 
undertaken to refute it, and, without having any knowledge 
of the ** Short Method," in order to justify it from M. 
Nicole's imputations, he made use only of passages from 
his own book and what he quoted : he himself not having 
the little book. He has not printed that refutation ; but 
it is still in existence, being in the hands of one of his 
friends. I let everything pass without thinking of justify- 
ing myself. 




The directors of St. Cyr having succeeded in what they 
wished, and I no longer going there, the matter made some 
noise. Those who had hitherto given me trouble, with 
some others who did not know me, set everything to 
work to decry me. I will not enter into the motives 
which influenced them : God knows them. But I believed 
at the time I should think of a more complete retirement : 
and as all the outcry they made was based upon the con- 
fidence of a small number of friends whom they said I 
was teaching how to pray (for that was the foundation of 
all the persecution), I adopted the plan of seeing nobody, 
expecting this would put an end to the talk. Thus the 
love of retirement, together with the desire I had to 
deprive those who hated me so gratuitously, of the oppor- 
tunity of attacking me anew, made me go and spend some 
days in the country, in a house nobody knew ; and after 
having let my family, my friends, and those who perse- 
cuted me believe that I would no more come back to Paris, 
I returned to my house, where I saw none of them for the 
rest of the time I remained there. M. Fouquet, uncle to 
my son-in-law, was the only person who knew where I 
was. I needed some one to receive the little income I had 
reserved for myself, when parting with my property, and 
also an upright witness who knew how I was living in my 
solitude. They no longer then saw me : I was, it seemed, 


beyond reach. But who can avoid the malice of men when 
God wills to use it to make us enter into his eternal 
designs of crosses and ignominy? 

The course I had adopted ought, it would seem, to have 
put an end to the murmurs, and calmed the minds : but 
quite the opposite happened; and I believe one of the 
things which most contributed to it was the silence of my 
friends, who, sharing the humiliation that such a procedure 
reflected upon them, suffered in peace without complaining 
of any one, and contented themselves with the witness that 
their conscience afforded them in secret, in no way showing 
to the excited minds that they knew the motives which made 
them so act, but also exhibiting a just reserve as to the 
confidence they would have wished people to place in them. 
My retirement, then, did not produce the effect that had 
been expected. It was suggested that from a distance I 
was spreading the poison of Quietism, as I had done near 
at hand ; and, to give countenance to the calumny, they 
stirred up a number of pretended *' devotees," who went 
from confessor to confessor, accusing themselves of crimes 
which they said were due to my principles. There were 
those I had tried to save from their irregularities, to whom, 
some years before, I had forbidden my house, after having 
failed in my endeavours. 

Before I had entirely secluded myself, a very extra- 
ordinary thing happened. M. Fouquet had a valet, very 
well educated and a very worthy man, and a girl who lived 
in the house became madly in love with him. I do not tell 
here anything which numbers of persons of honour and 
probity have not learned from M. Fouquet himself. She 
declared her passion to that man, who was horrified. One 
day she said to him, " Wretch ; I have given myself to the 
Devil that you might love me, and you do not love me." 
He was so frightened at this declaration he went and told 
his master, and he, after having questioned the girl, who 
told him horrible things, turned her out. As the valet was 


well educated, the horror of what that wretched creature 
had done, led him to become a Father of St. Lazare. M. 
Fouquet did not neglect that unfortunate. He engaged 
numbers of persons, suitable alike from their learning and 
their virtue, to have a care of her. All gave her up, for 
she was so hardened that they saw no remedy but in a 
miracle of grace. This valet of M. Fouquet, become a Father 
of St. Lazare, fell mortally ill. He sent for M. Fouquet, 
begging him not to let him die without seeing him. He 
recommended that unfortunate to him, and said, "When 
I think it is owing to me she has withdrawn herself from 
Jesus Christ to give herself to the Devil, I am afflicted 
beyond behef." M. Fouquet promised him again to do 
what he could. I do not know what moved him to bring 
the creature to me ; but it is certain that it was to make 
known, at least for a time, the power of God : and that, as 
the Devil had not been able to make M. Fouquet's valet 
consent to sin, so that Spirit of lies has no power over 
those who are God's, but what God permits him to exercise, 
as in Job's case. M. Fouquet then brought this girl to 
me, and, on seeing her, without knowing the cause, I had 
a horror of her. She was not less distressed at being 
near me ; but, nevertheless, God overthrew the Devil, and 
Dagon was cast down before the Ark. This girl, while 
with me, often said to me, " You have something strong 
that I cannot endure," which I attributed to a piece of the 
true cross I had on my neck. Although I attributed it 
to the true cross, I nevertheless saw that God operated 
through me, without me, with his divine power. At last 
this power obliged her to tell me her frightful life, which 
makes me tremble as I think of it. She related to me the 
false pleasures that Spirit of Darkness had procured for 
her ; that he made her pass for a saint in the place where 
she lived; that he allowed her to perform visible austerities; 
but that he did not allow her to pray : that, as soon as she 
wished to do it, he appeared to her under a hideous form, 

Chap. Xll] AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 245 

ready to devour her ; that in the other case, he apjDeared 
to her under a form as amiable as possible, and that he 
gave her all the money she wished. I said to her, " But 
amid all these false pleasures he procures for you, have 
you peace of heart ? " She said to me in a terrible tone, 
** No ; I experience a hellish trouble." I answered her, 
"In order that you may see the happiness there is in 
serving Jesus Christ, even in the midst of pain, I pray him 
to make you taste for one moment that peace of heart, 
which is preferable to all the pleasures of earth." She 
was immediately introduced into a great peace. Quite 
transported with this, she said to M. Fouquet, who was 
present, "Ah, Sir, I am in Paradise, and I was in Hell." 

These good moments were not lost ; M. Fouquet took 
her immediately to M. Eobert, Grand Penitentiary, to whom 
she made a general confession and promised amendment. 
She was well enough for six months ; but the Devil en- 
raged, caused, I believe, the death of the Penitentiary, 
who died suddenly. Father Breton, a Jacobin, who had 
many times endeavoured to rescue her from the abyss into 
which she had cast herself, also died. I then became very 
ill, and this creature, who was allowed admittance to me 
because M. Fouquet begged it, came to see me. She said 
to me, " I knew that you were very ill. The Devil told me. 
He said he did all he could to cause your death, but it was 
not permitted to him; he will none the less cause you 
such evils and persecutions you will succumb to them." I 
answered her, there was nothing I was not ready to suffer 
provided she was thoroughly converted ; that she should not 
listen to the Devil any more, whom I had forbidden her to 
answer, after having made her renounce him and renew 
the vows of her baptism. Because he had commenced by 
making her renounce her baptism and Jesus Christ, I 
made her do the contrary, and give herself anew to Jesus 
Christ. She said to me, "You must have great charity 
to be willing still to contribute to my conversion ; for he 


told me he would do you so much ill, and stir up so many 
against you that you would succumb." At this moment 
I seemed to see, in the imagination, a blue flame which 
formed a hideous face : but I had no fear of it any more 
than of the threats he sent me ; for God for many years 
keeps me in this disposition, that I would cheerfully give 
my life, even all the repose of my life, which I value much 
more, for the salvation of a single soul. One day that M. 
Fouquet suspected nothing, a priest came to see him and 
asked him news of this creature. As he thought it was 
a good design brought him, M. Fouquet told him that they 
hoped for her entire conversion, and that they saw much 
progress towards it. This priest, or this devil in the form 
of a priest, asked where she lodged. He told him, and 
when M. Fouquet came to see me a little after, and spoke 
to me of the priest, it occurred to me it was that wicked 
priest of whom she had spoken to me, and with whom she 
had committed so many abominations (for she had told 
me her life and her crimes), and this proved only too true. 
She came no more. The Penitentiary died, as I have 
said, and M. Fouquet fell into a languishing illness, that 
terminated only with his life ; but the girl came no more 
to see us. 

I had been led, as I have mentioned, to see M. Boileau 
on the subject of the " Short Method." I had reason to 
believe he was satisfied with my conduct, from the things 
he repeated to some of my friends, of our conversations ; 
but he was, a little after, one of my most eager persecutors. 
An extraordinary woman, who passed for a very devout 
person, having placed herself under his direction, on her 
arrival in Paris, made him change his sentiments. He 
apparently spoke of me to her on the subject of the visits 
I had paid him. She assured him I was wicked, and I 
would cause great evils to the Church. She excited then, 
as she has since done, much attention in Paris.* She was 

' Bee " St. Simon," vol. ii. p. 1^0. 


brought to visit people of every character and position, 
bishops, magistrates, ecclesiastics, women of rank — in 
a word, under pretext of a pretended miraculous ailment, 
they established her reputation to such a point that they 
could do nothing but talk of the extraordinary things that 
appeared in her. I could not imagine what this woman 
could be, nor what motive led her to speak of me in the 
manner she did. She seemed to have fallen from the 
clouds, for nobody knew who she was, nor whence she 
came ; and it has always been a puzzle for all those who 
have heard her spoken of, except M. Boileau, and perhaps 
some one in his most intimate confidence. As her name 
was entirely unknown to me, I did not believe myself any 
more known to her ; but some years after, having learned 
that she had borne the name of Sister Rose, it was not 
difficult for me to divine the reasons why she had thus 
spoken of me. This woman, about whom there was in 
fact something very extraordinary (God knows what caused 
it, for she prided herself on knowing the most secret 
thoughts, and having the most detailed knowledge, not only 
of things at a distance from her, but even of the future) — 
this woman, I say, persuaded M. Boileau, and persons of 
virtue and probity with whom he was in relation, that the 
greatest service they could render God was to decry me, 
and even to imprison me, owing to the ills I was capable 
of causing. What made her desire I should be imprisoned 
was the apprehension that I might proclaim what I knew 
of her. If she still lives, she will see by my silence that, 
being God's to the degree I am, she had nothing to dread ; 
the history of her life having been confided to me under 
the pledge of secrecy by herself. 

Immediately there was an inconceivable outburst. 
Had I even known all these details, which only came to 
my knowledge later, and had I even then known who this 
woman was, I believe I should have failed in any effort 
to disabuse minds so prejudiced : I should not have been 


believed, and perhaps I should not have been willing to 
say anything against her ; because God then kept me in 
that disposition of sacrifice, of suffering everything, and 
receiving from his hand all that might happen to me 
through this person, and those whom she had led away 
by her pretended extraordinary power. Nevertheless, she 
stated one circumstance which ought to have changed the 
opinion of so many good persons, if they had been willing 
to be enlightened ; but the prejudice was such that they 
would not even examine into the truth, let alone believe it. 
It is indeed true, my Lord, that when you will to make 
one suffer, you yourself blind the most virtuous persons, 
and I will honestly confess that the persecution from the 
wicked is nothing in comparison with that from servants 
of God, deceived, and animated by a zeal they believe just. 
This circumstance was, that God had made known to her 
the excess of my wickedness, and that he had given her as 
an assured sign of the truth she advanced, that in my writ- 
ings I had merely copied those of Mademoiselle Vigneron ; 
and that it would be easy to see their correspondence with 
my books. A person of great consideration, to whom M. 
Boileau confided this, wished to prove the matter for him- 
self. He went to the Minims and asked them for those 
writings. They made a great deal of difficulty, assuring 
him that they had never left their hands. However, 
not being with civility able to refuse that person, who 
promised to bring them back in a few days, he examined 
them himself; but far from seeing in them any relation 
with what I had written, he found a total difference. In 
order to disabuse M. Boileau of his prejudice, he proposed 
to him to satisfy himself with his own eyes, and to read 
for himself those writings, to see their contrariety. But, 
in spite of all his urgency on two different occasions, and 
the deference due from M. Boileau to that illustrious 
person, he would never do it, assuring him this woman 
had told him the truth, and that, knowing her as he did, 


he could not suspect her of the contrary. The truth is, 
I had never seen those writings of Mademoiselle Vigneron, 
and I had never heard her name pronounced up to that 
time. They tried further to disabuse M. Boileau, by a 
number of acts of hypocrisy of which some good people, 
whom he himself esteemed, were witnesses. But nothing 
could induce him to examine things closely — God doubt- 
less not permitting him, in order to make me suffer so 
many crosses, humiliations, and pains, to which he contri- 
buted not a little. 

On which side might deceitfulness be looked for — from 
a person always submissive and obedient, who so willingly 
gives up her judgment and her will, who has renounced 
all for God, who is known for a long time by so many 
good people, that have followed her in all the ages of her 
life and offer for her a testimony little open to suspicion : 
or, from a person unknown, who changes her name in 
most of the places where she has lived (for there are at 
least four that have come to my knowledge), — from a per- 
son whom devotion elevates from the dust; poor, whom 
devotion raises and enriches : while mine, if I have any, 
and God knows it, has only brought me humiliations, the 
strangest confusions, and universal discredit ? my 
Lord, it is there I recognize you ; and since, to please 
you, it is necessary to be conformed to you, I value more 
my humiliation at seeing myself condemned by all the 
world than if I saw myself at the summit of glory. How 
often, in the bitterness of my heart, I have said, I would 
fear more a reproach of conscience than the condemnation 
of all men ! This woman persisted always in saying I 
must be imprisoned, I would ruin everybody. Those 
whom I have ruined, you know it. Lord, are full of love 
for you. What made this woman speak in that way was, 
as I have said, the fear that, if I had seen her, or had known 
her name, I might have spoken of things she had a great 
interest in keeping hid. Yet this creature attracted such 


credit, and stirred up against me such persecutions, that 
every one had pleasure in inventing new fables against me. 
It was who could compose the most libels. He who was 
best at invention was the most welcome. They believed 
against me the most incredible things, and they did not 
believe in my favour persons most worthy of trust, of the 
highest probity, who knew me from my youth, and whose 
word would be believed in any other matter. I have 
digressed a little on the subject of this girl, and I resume 
the thread of my narrative. 

Some ecclesiastics, led away by M. Boileau, or by views 
and motives which charity does not permit me to speak of, 
but known to a small number of friends who remained to 
me, co-operated in all this. There were also some direc- 
tors vexed because some persons who appeared to have 
a kindliness for me had left them for Father Alleaume (who 
was my intimate friend), with which, however, I had 
nothing to do. However it be, every device was used to 
decry me, and in order to render what they called my 
doctrine suspected, they thought it was necessary to decry 
my morals. They omitted nothing to attain their purpose, 
and, after having persuaded the Bishop of Chartres of the 
pretended danger to the Church by endless stories, he set 
to work to persuade Madame de Maintenon, and those of 
the Court he knew to be my friends, of the necessity 
of abandoning me, because I was wicked, and capable of 
inspiring them with wicked sentiments. Madame de 
Maintenon held out some time. The part she had taken 
in my release from St. Mary's, my conversation, my 
letters, the testimony of those of her friends in whom 
she had most confidence, made her suspend her judgment. 
At last she gave way to the reiterated urgency of the 
Bishop of Chartres and of some others he employed in 
the direction of St. Cyr. He did not succeed equally with 
some persons of rank, who, having been many years 
witnesses of my conduct, knew me for themselves, and 


were acquainted with the different springs that had been 
put in motion to ruin me. I owe them the justice to make 
known that it was no fault of theirs that the authority of 
the King was not employed to shield me from so much 
injustice. They drew up a memoir likely to influence 
him in my favour, giving him an account of the conduct 
I had observed, and was still observing in my retirement. 
Madame de Maintenon was to have supported it by her 
testimony, but, having had the kindness to communicate 
it to me, I believed God did not wish me to be justified 
by that channel, and I required of them that they should 
leave me to the rigours of his justice, whatever they 
might be. They consented to defer to my request. The 
memoir already presented was withdrawn, and they 
adopted the course of silence, which they have since 
continued, being no longer able to do anything in my 
favour, owing to the outburst and prejudice. 



Some of my friends thought it would be advisable for me 
to see the Bishop of Meaux, who was reported not to be 
opposed to spiritual religion. I knew that, eight or ten 
years before, he had read the " Short Method " and the 
" Canticles," and that he had thought them very good. 
This made me consent to it with pleasure ; but, my 
Lord, how have I experienced in my life that everything 
which is done through consideration and human views, 
although good, turns into confusion, shame, and suffering ! 
At that time I flattered myself (and I accused myself of 
my faithlessness) that he would support me against those 
who were attacking me. But how far was I from knowing 
him ! And how subject to error is that which one does 
not see in your light, and which you do not yourself 
disclose ! 

One of my friends, of the highest rank, the D de 

Ch [Duke of Chevreuse], brought the Bishop of Meaux 

to my house. The conversation soon fell upon that which 
formed the subject of his visit. They spoke of the " Short 
Method," and this Prelate told me that he had once 
read it and also the *' Canticles," and that he had thought 
them very good. What I say here is not to support those 
books, which I have submitted with all my heart and 
which I still submit, but in order to give a simple account 
of all that is past, as 1 have been required to do. The 


D de Ch gave him the " Torrents," on which 

he made some remarks : not of things to be condemned, 

but which needed elucidation. The D de Ch 

had the kindness to remain present. This Prelate said 
to us such strong things on the interior way and the 
authority of God over the soul, I was surprised. He gave 
us even examples of persons he had known, whom he 
deemed saints, that had killed themselves. I confess 
I was startled by all this talk of the Bishop of Meaux. 
I knew that in the primitive Church some virgins had 
caused their own deaths in order to keep themselves pure ; 
but I did not believe, in this age, where there is neither 
violence nor tyrants, a man could be approved for such an 

action. The D de Ch gave him my history of my 

life, that he might know me thoroughly ; which he thought 
so good, that he wrote to him, saying, " he found in it 
an unction he found nowhere else ; that he had been three 
days reading it without losing the presence of God." These 
are, if I remember rightly, the exact words of one of his 
letters. What will appear astonishing is, that the Bishop 
of Meaux, who had had such holy dispositions while reading 
the history of my life, and who valued it while it remained 
in his hands, saw in it, a year after it had left them, things 
he had not seen before : which he even retailed, as if in 
reality I had written them. 

He afterwards wrote to the D de Ch , that he 

had just learned a thing which had been written to him 
from the abbey of Clairets, and which confirmed the 
interior way. A nun of Clairets, on the point of death, 
as they held the holy candle to her, called her Superior, 
and said to her, " My Mother, God wishes at present 
to be served by an entire stripping of self and the destruc- 
tion of the whole selfhood. It is the way that he has 
chosen ; " and as a proof she was speaking the truth, she 
made known to them, though in a manner they did not 
at first understand, that she should not die until that holy 


candle was burned down. According to ordinary rules she 
could not live more than a quarter of an hour ; her pulse 
had entirely ceased. The Superior having extinguished 
the holy candle, she was three days in that state, without 
any change in her pulse, with the same signs of death. 
They caused the holy candle to be lit again, and she died 
when it burned down. I merely relate what was in the 
letter. I omit the reflections of the Bishop of Meaux on 
such a strange case, having forgotten them ; but it is 
certain that, after this, he did not believe there could be 
any doubt of the most interior ways. I forgot to say the 
Bishop of Meaux had requested me to observe secrecy as 
to his visiting me. As I have always inviolably preserved 
it for my greatest enemies, I was not likely to fail in it for 
him. The reason he alleged for the secrecy he wished 
observed is, that he was not on good terms with the 
Bishop of Paris; but he himself went and told what he 
had begged me to be silent on. My silence and his talk 
have been the source of all the trouble I have since 

The Bishop of Meaux, having then accepted the pro- 
posal to examine my writings, I caused them to be placed 
in his hands; not only those printed, but all the com- 
mentaries on Holy Scriptures. I had previously given 
them to M. Charon the Official, by one of my maids ; but 
the fear they should be lost — as, in fact, they were, the 
Official having never returned them — led that girl to dis- 
tribute them among a number of copyists, who made the 
copy that was afterwards given to the Bishop of Meaux. 
It was a great labour for him, and he required four or 
five months to have leisure to go to the bottom of every- 
thing, which with much exactitude he did in his country 
house, where he had gone to escape interruption. To 
show the more confidence in him, and lay open the inmost 
recesses of my heart, I made over to him, as I have said, 
the history of my life, where my most secret dispositions 


were noted with much simplicity. On that I asked from 
him the secrecy of the confessional ; he promised an 
inviolable. He read everything with attention, and, at the 
end of the time stipulated, was in a position to hear my 
explanations and offer his objections. 

It was at the commencement of the year 1694 : he 
wished to see me at the house of one of his friends, who 
lived near the Daughters of the Holy Sacrament. He 
said the Mass in that Community, and gave me there the 
Communion : afterwards he dined. This conference, that 
according to him was to be so secret, was known to all 
the world. Many persons sent to beg him to go to the 
convent of the Daughters of the Holy Sacrament, that 
they might speak to him. He went there, and they took 
care to prejudice him ; as he appeared to be so when in 
the evening he returned and spoke to me. He was not 
the same man. He had brought all his extracts and a 
memoir, containing more than twenty articles, to which 
all his objections were reduced. God assisted me, so that 
I satisfied him on everything that had relation to the 
dogma of the Church and the purity of doctrine. But 
there were some passages on which I could not satisfy 
him. As he spoke with extreme vivacity, and hardly 
gave me time to explain my thoughts, it was not possible 
for me to make him change upon some of those articles, 
as I had done upon others. We separated very late, 
and I left that conference with a head so exhausted, 
and in such a state of prostration, I was ill from it 
for several days. I wrote to him, however, several letters, 
in which I explained, the best I could, those difficulties 
that had arrested him ; and I received one from him 
of more than twenty pages, from which it appeared that 
he was only arrested by the novelty to him of the subject 
and the slight acquaintance he had with the interior 
ways ; of which one can hardly judge except by experience. 

I will repeat here, as well as memory allows me, the 


greater part of those difficulties. He thought, for example, 
that I rejected and condemned as imperfect, distinct acts, 
such as specific requests, good desires, etc. : this I was far 
from doing, since the contrary is scattered through all my 
writings, if any one will give attention to them. But as 
I had experienced incapacities to do those discursive 
acts, incapacities common to certain souls, and on 
which they had need to be warned in order to be faith- 
ful to the Spirit of God, who was calling them to 
something more perfect, I endeavoured, as well as I was 
able, to aid them in those straits of the spiritual life ; 
where, for want of a guide who has passed through, 
souls are often stopped, and exposed to be deceived as 
to what God wishes of them. It is easy, methinks, to 
conceive that a person who places his happiness in God 
alone can no longer desire his ** own " happiness. No one 
can place all his happiness in God alone but he who 
dwells in God through charity. When the soul is there, 
she no longer desires any other felicity but that of God, in 
himself and for himself. No longer desiring any other 
felicity, all " own " felicity, even the glory of heaven for 
herself, is no longer that which can render her happy; 
nor consequently the object of her desire. The desire 
necessarily follows the love. If my love is in God alone 
and for God alone, without self-regard, my desire is in 
God alone, without relation to me. 

This desire in God has no longer the vivacity of an 
amorous desire, which is not in the enjoyment of what it 
desires; but it has the repose of a desire, filled and 
satisfied : for God being infinitely perfect and happy, and 
the happiness of that soul being in the perfection and in 
the happiness of her God, her desire cannot have the 
activity of an ordinary desire, which awaits what it desires ; 
but it has the repose of that which has what it desires. 
Here, then, is the centre root of the state of the soul, 
and the reason why she no longer perceives all the good 


desires, as do those who love God in relation to them- 
selves, or those who love themselves and seek themselves 
in the love they have for God. 

Now, this does not prevent God from changing the 
dispositions, making the soul for moments feel the weight 
of her body, which shall make her say, " I desire to 
depart and to be with Christ." At another time, feeling 
only a disposition of charity towards her brothers without 
regard or relation to herself, she " will desire to be 
anathema and separated from Jesus Christ for her 
brethren." These dispositions, which seem to be opposed, 
agree very well in a central depth, which does not vary ; 
so that though the beatitude of God in himself and for 
himself, into which the sensible desires of the soul have, 
as it were, flowed and reposed, makes the essential happi- 
ness of this soul, God does not cease to waken those 
desires when it pleases him. These desires are no longer 
the desires of former times, which are in the " own " will, 
but desires stirred and excited by God himself, without the 
soul reflecting on herself; because God, who holds her 
directly turned towards himself, renders her desires as her 
other acts non-reflective ; so that she cannot see them if 
he does not show them, or if her own words do not give 
her some knowledge of them, while giving it to others. 
It is certain, to desire for herself she must will for herself. 
Now all the care of God being to sink the will of the 
creature in his own, he absorbs also every known desire in 
the love of his divine will. 

There is still another reason which makes God take 
away and put into the soul sensible desires as it pleases 
him : it is, that, God wishing to dispense something to this 
soul, he makes her desire it in order to have a ground for 
giving it to her, and for hearing her : for it is indubitable 
"he hears the desire of this soul and the preparation of 
her heart ; " and even, the Holy Spirit desiring for her and 
in her, her desires are the prayers and requests of the 
VOL. u. s 


Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ says in this soul, "I know 
that you hear me always." A vehement desire of death 
in such a soul would be almost a certainty of death. To 
desire humiliation is far below desiring the enjoyment of 
God. Nevertheless, when it has pleased God to greatly 
humiliate me by calumny, he has given me a hunger for 
humiliation. I call it hunger, to distinguish it from desire. 
At another time he inspires this soul to pray for specific 
things. She feels at that moment her prayer is not 
formed by her will, but by the will of God ; for she is 
not even free to pray for whom she pleases, nor when 
she pleases ; but when she prays she is always heard. 
She takes no credit to herself for this ; but she knows 
that it is he, who possesses her, who hears himself in 
her. It seems to me I conceive this infinitely better than 
I explain it. 

It is the same with the sensible inclination, or even 
the perceived, which is much less than the sensible. 
When a sheet of water is on a different level from another 
which discharges into it, this takes place with a rapid 
movement and a perceptible noise ; but when the two waters 
are on a level the inclination is no longer perceived : there 
is one, however, but it is imperceptible ; so that it is true 
to say, in one sense, that there is none. As long as the 
soul is not entirely united to her God by a union which 
I call permanent, to distinguish it from transitory unions, 
she feels her inclination for God. The impetuosity of this 
inclination, far from being a perfect thing, as unen- 
lightened persons think it, is a defect and marks the 
distance between God and the soul. But when God has 
united the soul to himself, so that he has received her into 
him, "where he holds her, hidden with Jesus Christ," 
the soul finds a repose which excludes all sensible inclina- 
tion, and which is such that experience alone can make it 
understood. It is not a repose in peace tasted, in the 
sweetness and mildness of a perceived presence of God ; 


but it is a repose in God himself which participates of his 
immensity, so much has it of vastness, simplicity, and 
purity. The light of the sun which should be limited by 
mirrors would have something more dazzling than the 
pure light of the air ; yet those same mirrors which 
enhance its brilliance, limit it, and deprive it of its purity. 
When the ray is limited by anything, it fills itself with 
atoms, and makes itself more distinguishable than when 
in the air ; but it is very far from having its purity 
and simplicity. The more things are simple and pure, 
the more of vastness they have. Nothing more simple 
than water, nothing more pure : but this water has a 
wonderful extent, owing to its fluidity. It has also a 
quality, that having no quality of its own, it takes all sorts 
of impressions. It has no taste ; it takes all tastes. It 
has no colour, and it takes all colours. The intellect and 
the will in this state are so pure and so simple that God 
gives them such a colour and such a taste as pleases him ; 
like the water which is sometimes red, sometimes blue, in 
short impressed with any colour, or any taste, one wishes 
to give it. It is certain, though one gives to the water 
the diverse colours one pleases in virtue of its simplicity 
and purity, it is not, however, correct to say that the water 
in itself has taste and colour, since it is in its nature 
without taste and without colour, and it is this absence of 
taste and colour that renders it susceptible of every taste 
and every colour. It is this I experience in my soul. She 
has nothing she can distinguish or know in her, or as 
belonging to her, and it is this which constitutes her 
purity : but she has everything that is given to her, and as 
it is given to her, without retaining anything thereof for 
herself. If you ask the water what is its quality, it would 
answer you that it is to have none. You would say to it, 
** But I have seen you red." " Very likely, but I am not, 
however, red. It is not my nature. I do not even think 
of what they do to me, of all the tastes and all the colours 


they give me." It is the same with the form as with the 
colour. As the water is fluid, and without consistence, it 
takes all the forms of the places where it is put — of a 
vessel either round or square. If it had a consistence of 
its own it could not take all forms, all tastes, all odours, 
and all colours. 

Souls are good for but little as long as they preserve 

their own consistence ; all the design of God being to 

make them lose by the death of themselves all that 

they have of the " own " in order to act, to move, to 

change and to impress them, as it pleases him : so that 

it is true they have none. And this is the reason that, 

feeling only their simple nature, pure and without specific 

impression, when they speak or write of themselves, they 

deny all forms being in them, not speaking according to 

the variable dispositions in which they are put. They pay 

no attention to these, but to the root of that which they are, 

which is their state always subsisting. If one could show 

the soul like the face I would not, methinks, conceal any 

of her spots — I submit the whole. I believe, further, what 

causes the soul to be unable to desire anything is, that 

God fills her capacity. I shall be told the same is said of 

heaven. There is this difference, that in heaven not only 

the capacity of the soul is filled, but, further, that capacity 

is fixed, and can no longer increase. If it grew, the saints 

would augment in holiness and in merit. In this life, 

when by his goodness God has purified a soul, he fills 

this capacity : this it is which causes a certain satiety, but, 

at the same time, he enlarges and augments the capacity : 

while enlarging it, he purifies it ; and it is this causes the 

suffering and the interior purification. In this suffering 

and purification life is painful : the body is a burden. In 

the plenitude nothing is wanting to the soul, she can 

desire nothing. A second reason why the soul can desire 

nothing is, that the soul is, as it were, absorbed in God, in 

a sea of love ; so that, forgetting herself, ehe can only think 


of her love. All care of herself is a burden to her : an 
Object which far exceeds her capacity absorbs her and 
hinders her from turning towards self. We must say of 
these souls what is said of the children of Wisdom : " It 
is a nation which is only obedience and love." The soul 
is incapable of other reason, other view, other thought, 
than love and obedience. It is not that one condemns 
the other states, by no means ; and thereon I explained 
myself to the Bishop of Meaux in a manner that ought not, 
I think, to leave him any doubt thereon. 



I HAVE another defect, which is that I say things as they 
occur to me, without knowing whether I speak well or ill : 
whilst I am saying or writing them, they appear to me 
clear as day : after that, I see them as things I have never 
known, far from having written them. Nothing remains 
in my mind but a void, which is not troublesome. It is a 
simple void, which is not inconvenienced by the multitude 
of thoughts or by their dearth. This caused one of my 
greatest troubles in speaking to the Bishop of Meaux. He 
ordered me to justify my books. I excused myself as 
much as I could; because, having submitted them with 
my whole heart, I did not desire to justify them : but he 
insisted on it. I first of all protested I only did it through 
obedience, condemning most sincerely all that was con- 
demned in them. I have always held this language, 
which was more that of my heart than of my mouth. He 
still wished me to render a reason for an infinity of things 
I had put in my writings, which were entirely new and 
unknown to me. I remember, among others, a passage 
regarding Eliud — that man who speaks so long to Job, 
when his friends had ceased speaking to him. I never 
knew what I had intended to say. The Bishop of Meaux 
insisted, I said, that all this Eliud says in that long dis- 
course was by the Spirit of God. This did not appear to 
me so : on the contrary, one sees an astonishing fulness of 


himself. I will here say, in passing, that if one will give 
some attention to the rapidity with which God has made 
me write of so many things, far above my natural grasp, 
it is easy to conceive that, having had so small a part in 
it, it is very difficult, not to say impossible, for me, to 
render a reason for them in dogmatic style. This it is 
which has always led me to say, I took no part in them, 
and, having written only through obedience, I was as 
content to see everything burned as to see it praised and 
esteemed. There were also faults of the copyists, which 
rendered the sense unintelligible, and the Bishop of Meaux 
wanted to make me responsible for the errors, which he 
insisted were there : and he overwhelmed me by the 
vivacity of his arguments, which always reduced them- 
selves to belief in the dogma of the Church, that I did not 
pretend to dispute with him ; whereas he might have 
discussed quietly the experiences of a person, submissive 
to the Church, who asked only to be set right, if they 
were not conformable to the rules she prescribes ; which 
was precisely the thing contemplated when this examina- 
tion was undertaken. 

He spoke to me of the woman of the Apocalypse, as if 
I had pretended to be her myself. I answered, St. John 
had meant to speak of the Church and of the Holy Virgin : 
that our Lord was pleased to compare his servants to a 
thousand things, which properly fit only him ; and that 
there is nothing in the general Church which does not 
take place in some degree in the particular soul. It is 
then an application which is made to the soul, and God 
fulfils that application, as St. Paul says, he filled up 
what was wanting to the passion of Jesus Christ : again, 
what is said of Wisdom is applied to the Holy Virgin, 
but the design of Solomon was merely to express Wisdom ; 
and so with the rest. It is then a comparison, which 
God nevertheless takes pleasure in fulfilling, where il 
pleases him. All that has been said of the woman of the 


Apocalypse, in the sense in which it has pleased God to 
attribute it to me, those plenitudes, for example, are not in 
the body, but in the soul, as many persons who will read 
this have experienced with me. It seems one sends out 
a torrent of graces. When the subject is disposed, this is 
received in him. When he is not so, it rebounds upon us. 
It is what Jesus Christ said to the disciples, " Those who 
are children of peace will receive the peace : as for those 
who will not receive it, your peace will return upon you." 
It is that to the letter. One explains one's self in these 
matters the best one can, and not as one wishes : but 
"the animal man will not understand" that which it is 
only given to the spiritual man to understand. 

As to that outflow of graces which was another diffi- 
culty to the Bishop of Meaux. It has been given me to 
understand it in connection with those words of our Lord, 
when the woman had touched him: "A secret virtue is 
gone out of me." I have never pretended to render all 
this credible : I have written in order to obey ; and I have 
related things as they were shown to me. I have always 
been ready to believe I was deceived, if I was told so. 
God is my witness, I do not cling to anything. I have 
always been ready to burn the writings should they be 
thought capable of doing harm. There is little imagina- 
tion in what I write ; for I often write what I have never 
thought. What I should have wished of the Bishop of 
Meaux, was that he would not judge me by his reason, 
but by his heart. I have never premeditated any answer 
before seeing him ; ingenuous truth alone was my strength, 
and I was as content my mistakes should be known, as 
the graces of God. My paltriness may have mingled 
itself with his pure light : but can the mire tarnish the 
sun ? I hoped the same God who had once made a she- 
ass speak could make a woman speak ; who often knew no 
more what she said than Balaam's she-ass. Those were 
the dispositions of my heart when I had the conference 


with the Bishop of Meaux, and, thanks to God, I have never 
had any other. 

The objections he made to me sprung, I believe, only 
from the small knowledge he had of mystic authors, 
whom he confessed to have never read, and the small 
experience he had of the interior ways. He had been 
struck on some occasions by extraordinary things he had 
seen in certain persons, or that he had read, which 
made him judge God had special routes by which he made 
them attain to a great holiness : but this way of simple 
faith, small, obscure, which produces in souls, according 
to the designs of God, that variety of special leadings 
where he leads them in himself, it was a jargon that he 
regarded as the effect of a crazy imagination, and the 
terms of which were to him equally unknown and intoler- 

Another thing he reproached me with, is having 
written somewhere, that I had no graces for certain souls, 
nor for my self. When I have spoken of having no longer 
grace for myself, I have not meant to speak of sanctifying 
grace, which one always needs, but of the gratuitous, 
sensible, distinct, and perceived graces, which are experi- 
enced in the commencement of the spiritual life. I meant 
to say I did not contribute to the reign of God by anything 
striking, but in gaining some souls by disgrace, ignominy, 
and confusion. He attributed to the sensible what was 
purely spiritual, as what I have written in my Life of an 
impression I had when with a lady, one of my friends. It 
is certain my state has never been to have extraordinary 
things which react upon the body : and I believe that 
usually this only happens in the sensible, not in the purely 
spiritual love. But on that occasion where they had read 
a passage of Holy Scripture, on which a very profound 
light was given to me, the persons who were present 
explained it in the opposite sense. I dared not speak, and 
there took place in me a contrast between what I knew 


was true, and what they said, which could not be borne. 
The inability to speak, not daring it, the necessity of 
hearing others speak, produced an effect upon me that 
I have only that time felt, which overflowed on my body 
and made me ill. It is true I have felt in the heart, when 
God gave me some souls, intolerable and inexplicable 
pains. It was a keen impression in the depth of my soul 
which I cannot better explain than by this which is given 
me, that Jesus Christ, in having his side opened upon 
the cross, had given birth to the predestinated. He caused 
his heart to be opened, as if to show they came forth from 
his heart. He suffered in the Garden of Olives the pain of 
the separation of the lost, who would not profit by the 
blood he was about to shed for them. This pain was in 
him excessive, and such that it needed the strength of a 
God to bear it. I have explained that in the Gospel of St. 

The Bishop of Meaux raised great objections to 
what I had said, in my Life, of the Apostolic state. What 
I have meant to say is, that persons, who, by their state 
and conditions (as, for instance, laics and women) are not 
called upon to aid souls, ought not to intrude into it 
of themselves : but when God wished to make use of 
them by his authority, it was necessary they should be 
put into the state of which I have written. What 
had given occasion for it is, that numbers of good 
souls who feel the firstfruits of the unction of grace — that 
unction of which St. John speaks, which teaches all truth, 
— when, I say, they commence to feel this unction, they are 
BO charmed with it, that they would wish to share their 
grace with all the world. But as they are not yet in the 
source, and this unction is given them for themselves 
and not for others, in spreading themselves abroad they 
gradually lose the sacred oil, as the foolish virgins, while 
the wise ones preserved their oil for themselves, until they 
were introduced into the chamber of the Bridegroom : then 


they may give of their oil, because the Lamb is the lamp 
who illumines them. That this state is possible, we have 
only to open the histories of all times to show, that God has 
made use of laics and women without learning to instruct, 
edify, conduct, and bring souls to a very high perfection. 
I believe one of the reasons why God has willed to make 
use of them in this way, is in order that the glory should 
not be stolen from him. " He has chosen weak things to 
confound the strong." It seems that God, jealous that 
what is only due to him should be attributed to men, has 
willed to make a paradox of these persons, who are not in 
a state to take from him his glory. As to what regards 
me, I am ready to believe that my imaginations are mixed 
up as shadows with the divine truth, which may indeed 
conceal it, but cannot injure it. I pray God with all my 
heart to crush me by the most terrible means, rather than 
I should rob him of the least of his glory. I am only a 
mere nothing. My God is all powerful, who is pleased to 
exercise his power upon the nothing. 

The first time I wrote my Life, it was very short. I 
had put there in detail my sins, and had only spoken very 
little of the graces of God. I was made to burn it ; and 
I was commanded absolutely to omit nothing, and to write, 
regardless of myself, all that should come to me. I did it. 
If there is anything too much like pride, I am capable 
only of what is worthless ; but I have thought it was more 
suitable to obey without self-regard than to disobey and 
conceal the mercies of God through a humility born of the 
selfhood. God may have had his designs in this. It is ill 
to publish the secret of one's King, but it is well done 
to declare the graces of the Lord our God, and to enhance 
his bounties by the baseness of the subject on whom 
he exhibits them. If I have failed, the fire will purify all. 
I can very well believe I may have been mistaken; but 
I cannot complain, nor be afflicted at it. When I gave 
myself to our Lord, it was without reserve and without 


exception ; and as I have written only through obedience, 
I am as content to write extravagances as good things. 
My consolation is, God is neither less great, nor less perfect, 
nor less happy for all my errors. When things are once 
written down, nothing remains in my head. I have no 
idea of them. When I am able to reflect, it appears to 
me I am below all creatures, and a veritable nothing. 

When I have spoken of binding and loosing, the words 
should not be taken in the sense in which it is said of the 
Church. It was a certain authority, which God seemed 
to give me, to withdraw souls from their troubles and to 
replunge them therein, God permitting that it was verified 
in the souls : not that I have supposed that I was the 
better, nor that it took place in a manner reflected upon 
me, which God has never permitted ; but, while writing 
simply and without self-regard, I have put things as they 
were shown to me. 

The Bishop of Meaux insisted on saying I stifled distinct 
acts, as believing them imperfect. I have never done so ; 
and when I have been interiorly placed in a powerlessness 
to do them, and my powers were as though bound, I defended 
myself with all my strength, and only through weakness 
did I yield to the strong and powerful God. It seems 
to me that even this powerlessness to do conscious acts did 
not deprive me of the reality of the act ; on the contrary, 
I found my faith, my confidence, my self-surrender were 
never more living, nor my love more ardent. This 
made me understand that there was a kind of act direct 
and without reflection ; and I knew it by a continued 
exercise of love and faith, which, rendering the soul sub- 
missive to all the events of providence, leads her to a 
veritable hatred of self and a love of only crosses, ignominy, 
and disgrace. It seems to me that all the Christian and 
Evangelic characteristics are given to her. It is true her 
confidence is full of repose, free from anxiety and inquietude ; 
she can do nothing but love and repose in her love. She 


is like a person drunk, who is incapable of anything but 
his drunkenness. The difference between these persons 
and the others is, that the others eat the food, masticating 
it carefully to nourish themselves, and these swallow the 
substance without reflecting on it. I am so far from 
wishing to stifle distinct acts, as being imperfect, that if 
any one will take the trouble to read my writings, he will 
remark in many places expressions which are very distinct 
acts. It would be easy to show that they then flow from 
the source, and the reason why one, at that time, expresses 
his love, his faith, his self-surrender, in a very distinct 
manner; that one does the same in hymns or spiritual 
songs, and that one cannot do it in prayer unless God 

I should remark that acts must be according to the 
state of the soul. If she is multiplex, the acts must be 
multiplex ; if she is simple, simple : in short, either direct 
or from reflection. Patience is an act. He who receives, 
does an act, though less marked than he who gives. The 
flowing of the soul into God is an act. He who is moved 
and acted upon has acts; they are not his own acts in 
truth, and the souls then are not the principle of their acts. 
It is an act to obey the hand which pushes. The agent 
moves his subject ; the subject moved acts by its principle 
of movement. All these are acts, but not acts regulated and 
methodic, nor of which the soul is the principle, but God. 
Now, the acts God causes to be done are more noble and 
more perfect, although more insensible. " Those who are 
moved by the Spirit of God are the children of God." He 
who is moved does an act, which is not properly an act of 
his, but an act of letting himself move without resistance. 
He who does not admit these secondary acts, destroys all 
the operations of grace as a first principle, and makes God 
only secondary, doing nothing but accompanying our 
action ; which is opposed to the doctrine of the Church. 

1 can say the same thing of specific requests ; for it is 


on specific requests the Bishop of Meaux has tormented 
me most, not only in this first conference, but in those I 
had with him at the end of that same year, of which 
I shall speak hereafter. I collect together here, as well as 
I can remember, all that relates to this examination, not 
to refer to it a second time. The Bishop of Meaux would 
have me make requests ; but what can I ask for ? God 
gives me more blessings than I wish for ; what should I 
ask of him ? He forestalls my requests and my desires. 
He makes me forget myself, that I may think of him. He 
forgets himself for me : how should I not forget myself for 
him ? He, to whom love leaves sufficient liberty to think 
of himself, hardly loves ; or at least, might love more. He, 
who does not think of himself, can neither ask, nor pray 
for himself : his love is his prayer and his request. 
Divine Charity, you are every prayer, every request, every 
thanksgiving, and yet you are none of this ! You are a 
substantial prayer, which, in an eminent degree, includes 
every distinct and detailed prayer. Love, you are that 
sacred fire, who render pure and innocent your victims, 
without their thinking of their purity. They speak of 
themselves outside themselves in you as of you, without 
distinction. I am not astonished, David, that you 
spoke of yourself as Christ, of whom you were the figure. 
You were so become identical with him that in the same 
passages you speak of yourself and of him, without 
changing style or person. In short, it appears to me, the 
exercise of charity contains every request and every prayer; 
and as there is a love without reflection, there is a prayer 
without reflection : and that which has this substantial 
prayer is the equivalent of all prayers, since it contains 
them all. It does not detail them, owing to its simplicity. 
The heart, which ceaselessly watches on God, attracts the 
watchfulness of God over it. There are two kinds of souls : 
the one to which God leaves liberty to think of themselves, 
the others whom God invites to give themselves to him 


by such an entire forgetfulness of themselves that he 
reproaches them for the least self-regards. These souls 
are like little children who let their mothers carry them, 
and have no care for what concerns them. This does not 
condemn those who act. They both follow their attraction 
according to the spirit of grace and the advice of an 
enlightened director. Open the book on the Love of God 
by St. Francis de Sales ; he says the same thing in 
numberless places. I say, then, there are spiritual as 
well as corporal inabilities. I do not condemn acts or 
good practices. God forbid ! When I have written of 
these things, I have not pretended to give remedies to 
those who walk and have a facility for those practices, 
but I have done it for numerous persons who are unable 
to perform these acts. It is said these remedies are 
dangerous and may be abused. It is only necessary to 
remove the abuse. It is what I have laboured to do with 
all my power. 

The Bishop of Meaux maintained there are only four 
or five persons in the whole world who have this manner 
of prayer, and who are in this difficulty of performing 
acts. There are more than a hundred thousand in the 
world : therefore one has written for those, who are in 
this state. I have endeavoured to remove an abuse, 
which is, that souls who commence to feel certain 
inabilities (which is very common) think they are at the 
summit of perfection ; and I have wished, while exalting 
this last state, to make them understand their distance. 
As to what regards the root of doctrine, I avow my 
ignorance. I believed my director would remove faulty 
terms, and that he would correct what he should not 
think good. I would rather die a thousand times than 
wander from the sentiments of the Church, and I have 
always been ready to disavow and condemn whatever 
I might have said, or written, which could be contrary to 

272 MADAME GUYON. [Part HI. 


When this conference was finished, I thought only of 
retirement, following the advice of the Bishop of Meaux; 
I mean to say, no longer to see any one, as I had already 
commenced doing for a considerable time. I wrote some 
letters to the Bishop of Meaux, wherein I tried to explain 
to him the things he had not allowed me leisure to do in 

the conference. I addressed them to the Duke de Ch , 

through whom all had passed, and he had the kindness 
to send me the answers. The vivacity of the Bishop of 
Meaux, and the harsh terms he sometimes employed, had 
persuaded me he regarded me as a person deceived and 
under illusion. From this standpoint I wrote to the Duke 

de Ch , who showed him my letter, in which I thanked 

him also for all the trouble he had taken. The Bishop of 
Meaux answered him, that the difficulties, on which he had 
insisted and some on which he still insisted, neither 
touched the faith nor the doctrine of the Church. That 
he thought differently, in truth, from me on those articles, 
but that he did not believe me the less Catholic ; and if, 
for my consolation and that of my friends, I wished an 
attestation of his sentiments, he was ready to give me a 
certificate stating that, after having examined me, he had 
not found in me anything but what was Catholic, and, in 
consequence, he had administered to me the sacraments of 
the Church. The Duke de Ch had the kindness to 


communicate this to me : but I thanked him, and begged 
him to say that, having wished to see him only for my 
personal instruction, and for the sake of a small number 
of friends, who might have been disquieted at all the 
fracas that had been made, the testimony he had the 
kindness to render to them and to me also was sufiQcient 
for me ; that I would do what I could to conform myself to 
the things he had prescribed for me ; but that the sincerity 
I professed did not allow me to conceal from him that 
there were some on which I was not able to obey him, 
however sincerely desirous and whatever effort I made to 
enter upon that practice. After which I broke all com- 
munication with both parties, assuring them nevertheless 
that, as often as there should be a question of rendering 
reason for my faith, I would return at the first signal that 
should be given me through the person who was charged 
with my temporal concerns. 

M. Fouquet was the only person to whom I confided 
the place of my retirement. He told me, at the end of 
several months, that the change of Madame de Maintenon 
towards me having become public, those who already 
had so much persecuted me kept no longer any measure : 
there was a horrible outburst, and they retailed stories 
in which they attacked my morals in a very unworthy 
manner. This made me take the step of writing to 
Madame de Maintenon a letter which ought, methinks, 
to have dissipated her prejudice, or at least, put her 
as well as the public in a position to know the truth, 
I wrote her that, as long as they had only accused me of 
praying, and teaching others to do so, I had contented 
myself with remaining concealed : — that I had believed, by 
neither speaking, nor writing to any one, I should satisfy 
everybody, and I should calm the zeal of certain upright 
persons ; who were troubled only because of the calumny: — 
that I had hoped thereby to stop the calumny ; but, learn- 
ing I was accused of things which touched honour, and 



that they spoke of crimes, I thought it due to the Church, 
to my family, and to myself that truth should be known : — 
that I requested from her a justice, which had never been 
refused even to the most criminal, — it was to have my 
case investigated ; to appoint for me commissioners, half 
ecclesiastic, half laic, all persons of recognized probity 
and free from prejudice ; for probity alone was not suffi- 
cient in an affair where calumny had prejudiced number- 
less people. I added, that, if they would grant me this 
favour, I would betake myself to any prison it would 
please her or the King to indicate ; that I would go there 
with a maid, who was serving me for fourteen years. I 
further told her, if God made known the truth, she would 
be able to see I was not altogether unworthy of the kind- 
nesses, with which she had formerly honoured me; that 
if God willed me to succumb under the force of calumny, I 
would adore his justice, and submit to it with all my heart, 
demanding even the punishment those crimes merited. 

I addressed this letter expressly to the Duke de Beau- 
villiers, in order to be sure it reached her, begging him 
to give it himself into her own hand, and to say I would 
send for the answer at the end of seven or eight days. He 
had the kindness to give my letter : but Madame de Main- 
tenon answered him, that she had never believed any of 
the rumours that were circulated as to my morals : that 
she believed them very good ; but it was my doctrine which 
was bad ; — that, in justifying my morals, it was to be 
feared currency might be given to my sentiments, that it 
might be in some way to authorize them ; and it was better, 
once for all, to search out what related to doctrine, after 
which the rest would of itself drop. 

M. Fouquet, who had fallen into a languishing disease, 
died at this time. He was a great servant of God, and a 
faithful friend, whose loss would have been very much felt 
by me in my then circumstances, if I had not had more 
regard to the happiness he was going to enjoy than to the 


help I found myself deprived of, when so universally 
abandoned. I used to send every day a maid I had to 
learn news of him ; because I did not go out at all. He 
sent me word that I should have horrible trials : that there 
would be great persecutions, such that, if they were not 
shortened in favour of the elect, no one could resist them ; 
but that God would support me in the midst of affliction. 
As he was full of faith and love of God, he died with very 
great joy. It happened to me to write to him, that I 
believed he would die before the Corpus Christi. This was 
eight days before it. As he had no fever but the languor 
of which I have spoken, no one believed it ; yet he declared 
it would be as I told him. One of my maids, by whom 
I had sent my letter, and who read it to him, returned 
quite startled: "Madame," she said to me, "what have 
you done to have written that to M. Fouquet? He is 
sure to live more than two months ; and so people say. 

Madame de , who is there, and others will say you 

are a false prophetess." I began to laugh, and asked her 
why she had self-love for me. "I have said what occurred 
to me at the moment : if God wills that I should have 
spoken only to receive humiliation, what matters it to me ? 
If I have said the truth, there is only a short time to wait." 
M. Fouquet gave directions for everything and for his inter- 
ment, which he wished to be with the poor, and as a poor 
man. Two days before Corpus Christi, that same maid 
was sent there by me. She found him in his ordinary 
state. He told her he would come to say adieu to me 
when dying; but that he would not cause me any fear. 
She told him he was not likely to die so soon. He 
answered her with that faith which was usual to him : "I 
shall die as she has told me." This maid found Madame 

, and said to her, through a self-love, intolerable to me, 

" Madame perhaps meant to say the little Corpus Christi." 
She returned, and told me these same reasons : that M. 
Fouquet was better, and what she had said to Madame 

I blamed her greatly and asked her, who had made 

her the interpreter of the will of God. As for M. Fonquet, 
he never hesitated. When I was in bed at midnight, two 
days before Corpus Cbristi there came a light into my 
room, which glistened on the little gilt nails that were in 
a place near my bed, with a noise as if all the panes of 
glass in the house had fallen. The maid who was in bed 
near my room, went up into that of her companion, 
thinking all the panes of glass had fallen into the garden : 
yet there was nothing at all. At the moment, I did not 
make any reflection on it ; and, in the morning, I sent as 
usual to ask news of M. Fouquet. She found he had died, 
and learned it was at the same hour as that at which what 
I have related happened. I had only joy at his death, so 
certain was I of his happiness : and although I lost the 
best friend I had in the world, who might be useful to 
me in the tempest with which I was menaced, joy at the 
happiness he possessed and at the accomplishment of the 
will of God, left no place with me for grief. I knew I had 
lost a friend who feared nothing, for he had nothing to 
lose, and who would have served me at the expense even 
of his life ; but how little my interests weighed with me, 
and how much more at heart I held his ! He possessed 
him whom he had loved and served. I should have been 
much more led to envy than to mourn him, if love for the 
will of God had not prevailed in my heart over everything. 
I learned the circumstances of his death, which were these. 

His nephew the Abbe de Ch used never to leave him. 

When it was half-past eleven at night, he told him to go 
and rest, and to return in an hour : that he would find 
him as it would please God. He had received all his Sacra- 
ments, even the Extreme Unction. The Abbe de Ch 

did as he was told, and came back three-quarters of an 
hour later. He found him dead. He had a face so calm, 
not altered ; he did not grow rigid ; and, though he had 
died of a diarrhcca, there was no bad smell : on the contrary, 


they could not tire of looking at him. Some days after- 
wards, I dreamed I saw him as when he was in life. I 
knew, however, he was dead. I asked him how he fared in 
the other world. He answered me with a contented counte- 
nance : " Those who do the will of God, cannot displease 
him." I have thought this little digression would not be 
unwelcome to those for whom I have written this, since 
the majority knew him. 

I was extremely touched at the refusal of Madame de 
Maintenon to assign me commissioners. I knew well they 
desired to deprive me of the last resource by which I might 
make known my innocence, and this new examination was 
only meant to impose upon the public and make the con- 
demnation more authentic. They expected thereby to shut 
the mouths of those of my friends whom a more violent 
conduct would have wounded; for, although these said 
nothing to justify me, their silence in the midst of such 
universal defaming, and their refusal to condemn me, as did 
the rest, made it clear enough that they thought differently, 
and that they suffered in peace what they could not 
prevent. I took the course of letting God order in the 
matter, whatever might be pleasing to him; for how 
could I imagine an offer of that nature would not have 
put an end to prejudice? I was not ignorant of the 
persons who opposed themselves to it. They feared lest 
my innocence should be recognized, and the machinations 
that had been employed to tarnish it. Some even feared 
being accused ; but, thanks to God, I have never had any 
desire to accuse any of my persecutors : my views are not 
fixed so low. There is a sovereign hand, which I adore 
and which I love, that makes use of the malice of the one, 
and the zeal without knowledge of the others, in order to 
effect his work by my destruction. I believe, also, God 
made use thereof to deprive my friends of certain sup- 
ports, imperfect and too human, which they found in 
the creature; God wishing they should base all their 


dependence on him alone. They were, moreover, flattered 
by a certain confidence that those persons had in them, in 
preference to many others, from a mere natmral liking. 
God wished them too pure to leave them all these things, 
and I knew they would receive much more evil from that 
quarter than any good they had received from it. Devia- 
tions appear little at first, but in the end they appear what 
they are. As that person had been imposed upon, there 
was little to hope from her mediation. God has no need 
of the intervention of any one to effect his work ; he builds 
only upon ruins. We must carefully guard against the 
temptation of judging the will of God by apparent success ; 
for as we arrange in our heads the probable means by 
which God desires to be glorified, when he destroys those 
means, we think he will not be so. God never can be 
glorified but by his Son, and in that which has most 
relation to his Son. All other glory is according to man, 
not according to God. 

It will be said to me, "But to pass for a heretic!" 
What can I do ? I have simply written my thoughts. I 
submit them with all my heart. It is said, they are 
capable of a good and a bad sense. I know I have written 
them in the good; that I am even ignorant of the bad. 
I submit them both ; what can I do more ? When I have 
written, I have always been ready to burn what I wrote 
at the least signal. Let them burn it, let them censure : 
I take therein no interest. It is enough for me that my 
heart renders testimony to me of my faith ; since they do 
not desire the public testimony that I offer to render of it. 
They tried to tarnish my morals to tarnish my faith. I 
wished to justify the morals to justify the faith. They 
will not have it. What can I do more ? If they condemn 
me, they cannot for that remove me from the bosom of the 
Church, my mother ; since I condemn all she could con- 
demn in my writings. I cannot admit having had thoughts 
I never had, nor having committed crimes I have not even 


known, far from committing them ; because this would be 
to lie to the Holy Ghost. And like as I am ready to die 
for the faith and the decisions of the Church, I am ready 
to die to maintain that I have not thought, what they 
insist I have thought, when writing, and that I have not 
committed the crimes they impute to me. It is certain, even 
in their regular procedure towards me (I do not speak of 
the passionate, which was unexampled), they absolutely 
violated the gospel : because according to the gospel, they 
were bound to summon me, to ask what was my thought 
in writing what I have written ; to show me the abuse it 
might be put to ; then on my condemning with all my 
heart the bad sense that might be put on it, declaring I 
had never meant it, — begging them to burn everything, 
even though it might be good, if a bad use might be 
made of it, — ought they not to do me justice, and say 
that, as I was mistaken in my expressions, and had only 
a good intention in what I had written, they condemned 
my books without condemning myself; that, on the con- 
trary, they approved my good faith and submission ? That 
which I say here is one of the ordinary rules of the Church. 
However, as it was advisable to avoid all intercourse so 
as not to scandalize anybody, — in order to practise that 
other verse, " If your eye is a subject of scandal to you 
tear it out," I determined to withdraw entirely. Before 
doing so, I communicated to a small number of friends, 
who remained to me, the resolution I was taking, and that 
I was bidding them a last farewell. Whether I should die 
of my then illness (for I had continuous fever for more 
than forty days, with a severe accession twice a day,) or 
whether I should recover of it, I was equally dead for 
them : that I prayed God to finish in them the work he 
had commenced : that if this wretched nothing had con- 
tributed anything good through his grace, he would know 
how to preserve what was his : that if I had sown error 
through my ignorance (which I did not believe, since we 


bad never spoken together, except of renouncing ourselves, 
carrying our cross, following Jesus Christ, loving him 
without interest or relation to self) they could judge it was 
for their sake, not for mine, that I deprived myself of all 
intercourse with them, who had always edified me and 
been useful; while I might have injured them without 
intending it, and been the occasion of scandal. I prayed 
them, at the same time, to regard me as a thing forgotten. 



I BEGAN to perceive that others were aimed at in the 
persecution stirred up against me. The object was far too 
insignificant for so much movement, so much agitation; 
but, as those they had in view were beyond reach in them- 
selves, they thought to injure them through the esteem 
they had for a person so decried, and whom they were 
endeavouring still to render more odious. I had warned 
the Abbe F[enelon] long before of the change of Madame 
de Maintenon towards him, and of that of persons who 
manifested the greatest confidence in him ; but he would 
not believe me. I had known the artifices that were 
employed for this purpose, and I had endeavoured to put 
him on his guard against persons who had all his con- 
fidence ; in order that he should not unnecessarily put 
himself in their power, and to make him perceive they 
were acting with less uprightness than he was willing to 
believe. He persisted still in the idea he entertained, that 
I was mistaken, and I waited in peace till God should 
disabuse him by other ways. The event has since 
justified my conjectures, and we have seen those same 
persons attack him without disguise, and enjoy exclusively 
a confidence and a favour he might have preserved had he 
been less devoted to God and more influenced by those 
kinds of advantages of which the ordinary run of men are 
so covetous. 


I knew Madame de Maintenon would use my letter as 
an opportunity for speaking against me ; that she did it 
even from a good motive, in the false persuasion she 
possibly was under, that, as she had some years previously 
assisted to save me from oppression, she was bound to 
exert herself to crush me. What caused me the most 
trouble was that she judged others by the impression she 
had against me. All this knowledge and some dreams 
I had (for God often by this way has made me know things 
that were done against me) made me resolve to remain 
concealed while awaiting the developments of providence. 
If I could have been sensible to anything, it would have 
been to the troubles of the others, and to the ills I might 
cause them, if I could have regarded them otherwise than 
in the will of God, in which the greatest ills become 
blessings. But I am too insignificant to attribute to 
myself either ill or blessing. There is only one ill which 
can be justly attributed to me, it is the ill of sin; for 
although through the mercies of God I have not committed 
the evil they attribute to me, I have sufficiently offended 
God in other ways by my infidelity. He is so pure that, 
after so many fires of tribulation, I still find myself very 
impure before him, when he shows me to myself. It is 
not that I do not clearly see that his infinite goodness 
every day takes away those impurities. We are impure 
only through our affections. The affection even to procure 
the glory of God renders us unworthy that he should make 
use of us for that purpose. I believe both parties have 
too much faith to impute to anything else than providence 
what they have since suffered, and what they may yet 
suffer; yet I am willing to take the burden of it before 
God. I pray him with all my heart that I alone may 
bear the pain of all. my Lord, exercise upon me in 
this life and in the other, if you will it, a justice without 
mercy, but show mercy to those persons in this life and 
in the other. Let me be the scapegoat, loaded with the 


iniquity of your people ; let all fall upon me alone ; 
my God, spare them all, but do not spare me, I adjure 
you by your blood. You know, Lord, I have not sought 
my glory nor my justification in what I have done and 
demanded ; I have sought your glory alone. I have wished 
to justify myself for them. That could not be ; be you, 
yourself, their justification and their sanctification. 

Although I took the resolution to withdraw from all 
intercourse, I nevertheless made it known that, when- 
ever there should be any question of answering for my 
faith, I would be ready to betake myself wherever it 
should be desired. A few days after, I learned that 
Madame de Maintenon, in concert with some persons of 
the Court, who were already embarked in this business, who 
had a kindness for me, and who were interesting them- 
selves in good faith, had adopted the course of causing a 
fresh examination of my writings, and to employ for this 
purpose persons of knowledge and recognized probity. The 

Duke de Ch undertook to inform me. He wrote me 

that he, as well as the others in whom I bad most 
confidence, believed it was the surest way to alter public 
opinion, and to put an end to the prejudice. It would 
have been so, in fact, if each one had proceeded therein 
with the same views and the same intention : but it was a 
condemnation they wished to make sure of, and to render 
it so authentic that those, who hitherto had remained 
persuaded of my good faith and the uprightness of my 
intentions, should be unable to stand out against a 
testimony, the less open to suspicion, as they seemed to 
have sought it themselves, and that everything, so to say, 
had passed through their hands. I did what they wished, 
and I sent word I was always ready to render reason for 
my faith; and that I asked nothing better than to be 
put right, if contrary to my intention, there had escaped 
from me anything that was not conformable with sound 


It only remained, then, to choose the persons who 
should make the examination. It was necessary they 
should be equally acceptable to both parties ; men who 
had learning, piety, and some acquaintance with mystic 
authors, because that was the matter principally under 
consideration — to judge my writings in relation to theirs, 
both as to the root of the sentiments, and as to the 
conformity of the terms and expressions. It seemed 
difficult to have this discussion at Paris, owing to the 
Archbishop, from whom all parties agreed that the 
cognizance of it must be withheld. He would not have 
suffered it, because naturally it concerned him alone, as it 
took place in his diocese ; and if he had been willing to 
undertake it himself, none of those who engaged in this 
affair had sufficient confidence in him to accept his 
decision. I will, however, say here, that during the course 
of that examination, the Archbishop having received a 
quantity of false memoirs that had been given to him 
against me, sent word to a lady, one of my friends, 
by a relative of his own and of that lady, that I should 
come and see him, and that he would extricate me from 
all my troubles. He wished to have the glory of it, and 
that no one else should meddle. He would have fully 
justified me, according to what I have since learned on 
good authority. I owe this justice to the fidelity of my 
God, that he did not fail me on this occasion, and that he 
put it into my heart to go to him. I even believed myself 
obliged to obey the voice of my Shepherd ; but my friends, 
who feared the Archbishop should discover my secret 
regarding the Bishop of Meaux, ignoring that he had 
not kept it himself, did not allow me to go, nor to follow 
the inclination I had. I did not go then, acting on this 
occasion against my own heart, and seeing in the general 
all the misfortunes this refusal entailed. The Archbishop 
of Paris, indignant with reason at my refusal to go and see 
him, censured my books, which, up to that, he had not done. 


having been satisfied with the explanations I had given 
him six or seven years before. After this censure there 
were no bounds to the calumny ; and the Bishop of Meaux 
found himself still more authorized in the condemnation 
he had promised to Madame de Maintenon. I return to 
the proposed examination. 

The first person on whom they cast their eyes was the 
Bishop of Meaux. He had already, to the knowledge of 
Madame de Maintenon, made a private one, some months 
before. She wished to see him, to ascertain his sentiments, 
and the point to which she could count upon him in the 
design she had. It was not difficult for that Prelate to 
penetrate her intention and to observe the interest she took 
in the business, or rather her uneasiness for her friends. 
There is reason to believe he promised her all she wished, 
and it may be said the event has only too well justified 
this. On the other hand, those who were interested for 
me in this business, and I myself, were very well pleased 
to see him enter upon it. I had had an opportunity of 
explaining to him an infinity of things on which he had 
appeared to me satisfied, although on some others he had 
persisted in a contrary opinion. I did not doubt that, in a 
quiet discussion in presence of people of consideration and 
knowledge, who would be all equally conversant with the 
subject, I should make him at least change his opinion 
so far as not to condemn in me what he would not dare 
to condemn in so many saints canonized by the Church, 
together with their works. He had, moreover, administered 
the Sacraments to me during his first rigorous examina- 
tion, and had offered to give me a certificate of it for my 
consolation. The things on which we did not agree, not 
having been decided by the Church, did not offend against 
the faith. All these considerations led me to ask for him. 
I also asked for the Bishop of Chalons, who had mildness 
and piety. I thought he would have more knowledge of 
the things of the spiritual life and of the interior ways 


than the Bishop of Meaux, and that my language would 
be to him less barbarous ; for, in fact, it was this was in 
question rather than the dogma of the Church. Two of 
my most intimate friends wished that M. Tronson should 
also enter upon it. He had been for a long time Superior 
of the House of St. Sulpice. They had both a very special 
confidence in him. 

When these three persons had accepted the proposal 
that was maJe them, I took the liberty of writing to them, 
to make them acquainted with what concerned me, and 
bad given occasion to this discussion ; at least, the two 
last. I will here insert that letter in its natural sequence. 

Letter to Bishops of Meaux and Chalons, and to M. Tronson. 

" How should I, gentlemen, be able to appear before 
you, if you believe me guilty of the crimes of which I am 
accused ? How will you be able to examine without horror 
books emanating from a person that they would represent 
as execrable ? But also how should I not appear, since, 
having taken the liberty of asking His Majesty for you 
to examine my faith, and having been happy enough to 
obtain what I desire, it would be to deprive myself of the 
only resource that remains to me in this life, which is to 
be able to make known the purity of my faith, the up- 
rightness of my intentions, and the sincerity of my heart 
before persons who, although prejudiced, are for me above 
all suspicion, owing to their light, their uprightness and 
their extreme probity ? I had taken the liberty of asking 
His Majesty to join lay judges in order they might probe 
what concerns my morals, because I thought it was 
impossible there could be a favourable judgment of the 
writings of a person who passes for guilty. I offered to 
go to prison, as you will see, my Lords, by the letter 
annexed, if you will kindly read it. I offer more — it is to 
prove that I have neither done, nor could do the things 
of which I am accused. I do not mean that those who 


accuse me should prove what they advance, although this 
■would be the ordinary course, but I offer myself to prove it 
is not so. If you will have the charity to examine what 
concerns the criminal before the examination of the books, 
I shall be infinitely obliged. It is easy to learn everything 
for and against my whole life. I will tell you, my Lords, 
with the utmost ingenuousness the things of which I am 
accused, and the character of the persons who accuse me. 
I am ready to suffer every kind of test, and I am sure it will 
be easy for you with the grace of God to discover an 
exceptional malignity. You will see the character of the 
persons who accuse me, and perhaps it will be a great 
good for the Church to examine who are the guilty ; those 
who accuse me, or she who is accused. Three persons of 
uprightness are incited against me : the Bishop of Char- 
tres, because his zeal is deceived — it will be easy for me to 
show by whom and how ; the Cure of Versailles, who has 
not always been as rabid against me as he is, since, on my 
release from St. Mary, he wrote me, after having read the 
books which were in question, that he was quite of my 
sentiments. I have his letter. Since that time he did me 
the honour to number me as one among his friends, and 
came to see me more often than any one else. He has 
testified to all my friends the esteem he had for me ; 
even since the last time I had the honour of seeing him, 
he has said a thousand good things of me at St. Cyr, 
and, afterwards, much ill. He imagined I had withdrawn 

Madame de G and Madame de M from his 

direction, to put them under that of the Jesuit Father 

Alleaume. It is a fact Madame de G was under the 

conduct of Father Alleaume before I had the honour of 
knowing her. It was not I, then, who placed her there. 
Madame de M believed herself obliged, in giving her- 
self to God, to leave the Court, which was for her a danger, 
in order to devote herself to the education of her children, 
and the care of her family, which up to that she had 


neglected : leaving Versailles and residing at Paris, she 
needed a director at Paris. Yet the Cure, who is said 
at present to have the ear of Madame de Maintenon, and 
who has it in fact, makes two opposite complaints : the 
one, that I have withdrawn these ladies from the direction 
of their legitimate pastor to place them under the conduct 
of a Jesuit Father ; the other, that I directed them. How 
have I given them a director if I directed ? For if I have 
given them a director, I do not direct them. God has 
not abandoned me to such a point, that I should meddle 
with directing; although I believe he sometimes gave 
experiences to assist others with : but all the persons I 
have been acquainted with have had their directors. 

"When those ladies were in the world, they put on 
patches, used rouge, and some of them ruined their families 
by play and extravagance in clothes ; nothing was said 
against it, and they were let go on. Since they have 
abandoned all that, there has been an outcry, as if I had 
destroyed them. Had I made them abandon piety for 
self-indulgence, there would not be so much noise. I 
have proofs and the witness of letters, which have been 
written to the Cure of Versailles, which will show clearly 
the justification of what I advance, if I am granted the 
favour of being heard. The third person, of those who are 
incited against me, is M. Boileau, stirred up by a devotee, 
who assures him God has made known to her I am dis- 
pleasing to him, and this accompanied by things mani- 
festly false, which it is easy to verify. 

" These are the persons who are upright and, through 
zeal, incite every one against me. The rest of the accusers 
are all persons with whom I have had no intercourse, 
except to give them alms, to have forbidden them my 
house, or to have pointed them out for what they were. I 
will tell you, my Lords, when you please, the facts which 
have led these persons to accuse me, namely La Gentil, 
La Gautiere, the girls of P V , the girls from Dijon, 


Grenoble, and Fi. I do not claim, my Lords, to hide from 
you the smallest thing, because, thanks to God, I do not 
wish to deceive myself. As soon as I knew I was accused 
of acting as director I withdrew myself. I no longer 
received any one, as you will see, my Lords, from this other 
letter. I have always thought it was necessary before 
everything to be enlightened on the criminal : therefore 
I implore you, by the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ, to 
receive the memoirs which will be given you against me. 
If I am guilty, I ought to be punished more than another, 
since God has given me the grace to know him and to love 
him, and I am not ignorant enough to be excused ; for I am 
certain Jesus Christ. and Belial are not in the same place. 

" I have taken the liberty of asking for the Bishop of 
Meaux since last year, because I have always had such a 
great respect for him, and I am persuaded of his zeal for 
the Church, of his lights, and of his uprightness, and I have 
always had a disposition to condemn what he will condemn 
in me. I have taken the liberty of asking for the Bishop 
of Chalons (although the Abbe de Noailles is the most 
zealous of those who decry me), as well because for a long 
time I know his discernment and his piety, as that because, 
being interested through his niece, I am very happy he 
should know the truth for himself. I have asked for M. 
Tronson, although I know all the labour expended to decry 
me to him, because I know his uprightness, his piety, his 
light, and that it is necessary he should know for himself 
the ground the Bishop of Chartres has to excite his zeal 
against me. I conjure you, my Lords, by the charity that 
reigns in your hearts, not to hurry this business, to allow it 
all the time that is necessary to get to the bottom, and to 
allow me the favour of being heard and explaining myself 
on everything. I pray you to be persuaded that I speak 
to you sincerely. Have the kindness, if it pleases you, to 
inform yourselves, not from those who do not know me, but 
from those who know me, if my heart is not upon my 

VOL. II. u 


lips. As to that which concerns the matter of my books 
and writings, I declare I submit them with all my heart, 
as I have already done, and as I have declared in the 
annexed paper. I declare, my Lords, I submit my books 
and my writings purely and simply, without any condition, 
for whatever you will please to do with them : that therein 
I do not claim anything for myself : that, after having sub- 
mitted them to the Church in general, I submit them to 
your lights in particular. I protest to have written them 
through obedience, without other design than to give them 
to my director, for him to do with them what he pleased, 
indifferent whether he burned them or not. Although these 
books have caused me very severe crosses, and have served 
as a pretext for many things, yet, had I known that they 
must have brought me to sufifer death, the same obedience 
which has made me write them, would still have made me 
do so. I have still the same disposition and the same 
indifference as to their success. 

** I pray you, my Lords, to bear in mind I am an 
ignorant woman; that I have written my experiences in 
perfect good faith ; that if I have explained myself ill, it is 
an effect of my ignorance ; as for the experiences they are 
real. Moreover, I have written, as I have declared, without 
the aid of any book, without even knowing what I was 
writing, in such abstraction that I remembered nothing of 
what I had written. It is these writings, then, I submit 
purely and simply to your judgment, my Lords, to do 
with them whatever you please : therein is my interest ; 
there is, moreover, the interest of truth. It is for that, my 
Lords, I conjure you to examine thoroughly whether what 
I write is not found in the mystic authors and saints 
approved this long time. I offer myself to show it to you, 
if you do me the favour to hear me. You will not refuse 
me this justice. It is even necessary as a foundation for 
your judgment. I further ask a favour, my Lords, in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for you and for 


me, which is — to write the questions and answers I shall 
make. This is necessary because the memory of things 
perishes, and you will be well pleased to see on what you 
have condemned or approved me. This is necessary for 
me myself, that, recognizing my mistakes, I may withdraw 
myself from those sentiments. I hope you will grant me 
all I here ask by the blood of Jesus Christ my Saviour. 
It is necessary, moreover, to clear up one difficulty before 
undertaking another, in order it may remain for ever 
approved or condemned. 

" August, 1694." 

I sent at the same time to those persons, besides my 
two little printed books, my commentaries on Holy 
Scripture; and I undertook by their order a work to 
facilitate for them the examination they undertook, and to 
lighten for them a labour which was nevertheless trouble- 
some enough, or which at least would have taken up much 
time. This was, to collect a certain number of passages 
from approved mystic authors, which showed the conformity 
of my writings and the expressions I had used, with those 
of these holy authors. It was an immense work. I caused 
the manuscripts to be transcribed as fast as I had written 
them, to send to these gentlemen, and, according as 
opportunity offered, I explained the passages that were 
doubtful or obscure, or which had not been sufficiently 
explained in my commentaries. For these I had composed 
at a time when, the affairs of Molinos not having yet made 
a stir, I had written my thoughts without precaution and 
without imagining they could be twisted to the sense 
condemned. That work has for its title ** Les Justifications." 
It was composed in fifty days, and appeared very suitable 
for throwing light on the matter ; but the Bishop of Meaux 
would never either read or allow the others to see those 
** Justifications." 



I SOON perceived the change in the Bishop of Meaux, and 
how much I had been deceived in the idea I had formed of 
him. Although he was very reserved in disclosing his 
sentiments when he spoke to my friends, he was not the 
same with persons he believed ill disposed to me. I had 
confided to him, as I have already said, under the seal of 
confession, the history of my life, wherein were noted 
my most secret dispositions ; yet I have learned he 
had shown it and turned it into ridicule. He wished to 
compel me to show it to these other gentlemen, and 
insisted so strongly thereon (although it had no connection 
with the examination in progress), I saw myself obliged to 
submit to what he wished. I caused it to be given them. 
I communicated to one of his friends and mine — the Duke 
de Ch[evreuse] — the alteration in my opinion of the Bishop 
of Meaux, and how I had reason to believe he was only 
thinking of condemning me. He had said that, without 
the history of my life, it could not be done, and that in it 
one would see the pride of the Devil. It was for this 
reason he wished it should be seen by those gentlemen. 

I begged this friend that the subjects, as they were 
settled by those persons, should be written out, and, in 
erder to have a sure witness of what would take place 
there, I most urgently begged him to be present at the 
conferences. I should have much wished they were not 


decided till the end, and that, until then, they held their 
judgment in suspense; not doubting that, as they were 
all assembled after having prayed God, God would at the 
moment touch their hearts with his truth independently 
of their intelligence ; for otherwise, as the grace promised 
to those gathered together for truth escapes and departs, 
the intellect takes the upper hand, and one judges then 
only according to the intellect. Moreover, being then no 
longer sustained by this grace of truth, which has only its 
moment, — and finding themselves carried away by the 
clamouring crowd who are supported by credit, authority, 
and favour, — in listening to them the intellect hinders 
the heart by the continual doubts it forms. My friend 
proposed it to these gentlemen. The Bishop of Chalons 
and M. Tronson would willingly have consented, for 
they were both acting with all the uprightness and good 
faith imaginable ; but the Bishop of Meaux found means 
to prevent it. He had so assumed control of the business 
that it was absolutely necessary everything should bend to 
what he pleased. He was no longer the same he had been 
six or seven months before, at the first examination. As at 
that time he had entered upon it only through a spirit of 
charity and with a view to know the truth, notwithstand- 
ing his extreme vivacity, he altered his opinion on many 
subjects that his prejudice made him at first reject. He 
appeared even sometimes touched by certain truths, and to 
respect things whi'^-h struck him, although he had not the 
experience of them. But here it was no longer the same 
thing, he had a fixed point from which he did not swerve, 
and, as he wished to produce a striking condemnation, he 
brought to it everything he thought capable of contributing 

It was in the same spirit that he wrote a long letter to 
the friend of whom I just spoke, to prove to him that, 
according to my principles, the sacrifice of eternity was a 
real consenting to hatred of God, and other things of that 


nature on trials. I still feel quite moved when I think 
of it — to consent to hate God ! good God ! how could 
a heart who loves him so passionately mean such a thing ? 
I believe that this view, a little strongly held, would be 
sufficient to cause my death. This needs explanation, and 
I will give it here much as I sent it to him at the time. 
Whether the soul be placed in such terrible trials that she 
has no doubt of her reprobation (which is called a holy 
despair): whether she carries in herself the state of hell 
(which is a feeling of the pain of damnation) : if one were 
to stir her central depth by such a proposition, she would 
exclaim, " Rather a thousand hells without that hatred." 
But what one calls "to consent to the loss of her eternity," 
is when the soul in that state of trial believes it certain, 
and then, with no view but of her own misfortune and her 
own pain, makes the entire sacrifice of her eternal loss, 
thinking that her God will be neither less glorious nor less 
happy. Oh, if one could understand by what excessive 
love of God and hatred of self this is done, and how far 
one is from having these thoughts in detail ! But how 
should I be understood and believed ? Alas ! how often 
in that state, have I asked my God, graciously, to give me 
hell that I might not offend him. I said to him, *' my 
God, hell is in others the penalty of sin : make it in me 
prevent sin, and make me suffer all the hells that all the 
sins of all men merit, provided I do not offend you." 

The sacrifices of particular and distinct things take 
place only in the exercise itself : as a person who falls into 
the water makes at first all his efforts to save himself, and 
does not relax his effort until his weakness renders it 
useless ; then he sacrifices himself to a death that 
appears to him inevitable. There are anticipated sacrifices, 
such as are general sacrifices, which distinguish nothing, 
except that God proposes to the soul the greatest pains, 
troubles, desertions, confusions, scorn of creatures, dis- 
credit, loss of reputation, persecution on the part of God, 


of men, and of devils, and that, without specifying 
anything in particular of the means he will use : for 
the soul never imagines them such as they are, and 
if he proposed them to her, and she could understand 
them, she would never consent. What, then, does 
God ? He demands from the soul her freewill, which he 
has given her, which is the only thing the soul can sacrifice 
to him, as the only thing which belongs to her as her own. 
She makes then to him a sacrifice of all she is, in order 
that he may make of her, and in her, all that shall please 
him, for time and for eternity, without any reserve. This 
is done in an instant, without the intellect considering 
anything. Even from the commencement of the way of 
faith, the soul bears this radical disposition, that if her 
eternal loss caused an instant of glory to her God, more 
than her salvation, she would prefer her damnation to her 
salvation, and this viewed from the side of the glory of 
God: but the soul understands she would be unhappy 
without guilt, and to glorify her God. 

This general sacrifice in anticipation for all sorts of 
sufferings, temporal, and eternal, takes place in some souls 
with an impetuosity of sovereign master, and with such an 
interior sweetness that the soul is, as it were, carried away. 
She experiences that the same God, who demands a 
general consent for the troubles, makes it be given, and it 
is given, as promptly as the thing is proposed : and when 
the sacrifice is pleasant and sweet, the exercises which 
follow it are infinitely cruel; for then the soul forgets 
absolutely the sacrifice she has made to her God, and 
remembers only her wretchedness. Her intellect clouded, 
her will hardened and rebellious, and her trouble, cause her 
inexplicable torments. There are others whom God causes 
to make this sacrifice of their entire selves with such 
strange pains that one might call it a mortal agony : the 
bones are broken, and one suffers in giving himself to God 
a pain that is beyond imagination. These latter suffer less 


in the trials, and the pain of the consenting has been for 
them a good purification. But remark, this sacrifice has 
nothing particular in view but extreme pains, when it 
anticipates the trial, or the purification. 

It is the same with the sacrifice which takes place in 
the trial, for then the soul is quite plunged, not only in the 
pain, but in the experience of her wretchedness; in a 
feeling of reprobation which is such that the soul roars, 
if one may say so : then, through despair, she makes the 
sacrifice of an eternity, which seems to escape from her 
in spite of her. In the first sacrifice the soul thinks only 
of her trouble and her pain, or the glory of her God ; but 
in this last, it seems she has lost God and that she has 
lost him through her fault, and that loss is the cause of 
all her miseries. She suffers at the commencement pain- 
ful rages and despairs. The fear of offending God makes 
her desire by anticipation a hell, which, as she believes, 
cannot fail her. This violence ceases at the end of the 
trials, and it is as a person who can no longer cry because 
he has no longer the strength : and then it is, the pain is 
more terrible, because her violent grief was a support to 
her : but when in that state there occur in addition mortal 
maladies, where one believes one's self at two fingers from 
the real Hell by death (for this appears in all its terror, 
without finding refuge or means of assuring her eternity, 
and the heaven seems of brass — I know it from actual 
experience,) then the soul sacrifices herself to God very 
really for her eternity, but with agonies worse than even 
hell. She sees that all her desire was to please God, and 
that she is going to displease him for an eternity. Never- 
theless there remains to her a certain central depth, 
which says, without however consoling her: "I have a 
Saviour who lives eternally, and the more my salvation is 
lost in me and for me, the more it is assured in him and 
through him." 

What is astonishing is that in this state the soul is so 


afflicted and so tormented with the experience of her miseries 
and the fear of offending God, that she is delighted to die ; 
although her loss appears certain to her, in order to 
escape from that state and to be no longer in danger of 
offending God ; for she thinks she offends him although 
there be nothing of the kind. Her folly is such and her 
grief so excessive that she does not consider that by 
living she might be converted, and in dying she is lost. 
Not at all ; because she imagines conversion is no longer 
for her. The reason of it is, that as her will has never 
wandered by a single self-regard nor the least consent, 
that will remaining attached to God and not turning 
aside from him, she no longer finds it to perform the acts 
of sorrow, detestation, and the rest. It is this which 
causes her the most trouble. 

A further surprising fact is, that there are souls in 
whom all these troubles are only spiritual, and it is these 
which are the most terrible : with such persons the body 
is cold, although the soul sees herself in the will of all 
evils, and in a powerlessness to commit them ; and it is 
they who suffer most. If I could tell how I have experi- 
enced this strange trouble, and, in addition, the disposition 
of the body (while married) in no correspondence with 
marriage, and without betraying anything of it, one would 
see what this trouble is. I call it spiritual hell : for the 
soul believes she has the will for all evils, without 
being able to commit any of them and without corre- 
spondence of the body. Others suffer less in the spirit and 
in all ways, and experience very great weaknesses in the 
body. But I have written so much, there is nothing more 
to be said. 

I will, however, further add to answer the difficulty of 
the Bishop of Meaux, touching the sacrifice of purity, that 
this proposition never can be as he by anticipation sup- 
posed it ; for the trial precedes the sacrifice. God permits 
that virgins (and it is to those that this most ordinarily 


happens) enter upon trials so much the greater as they 
were the more attached to their purity, seeing that God 
tries them either by devils in a well-known manner, or by 
temptations that appear to them natural ; it is for them 
so great a grief, that hell without those troubles would be 
a relief. Then they make to God a sacrifice of that same 
purity which, to please him, they had preserved, though 
with a taint of selfhood ; but they do it with the agonies 
of death : not that they consent to any sin — they are further 
removed from it than ever, — but they bear with resignation 
and sacrifice of their whole selves what they cannot pre- 
vent. I beg that attention may be paid to the fact that 
these souls, thus tried by God, suffer inexplicable torments ; 
that they do not allow themselves a single satisfaction ; 
that it would be even impossible for them to find it : while 
those other wretches who addict themselves to all kinds of 
sins, suffer no trouble, granting their senses what they 
wish, and living in an unbridled licentiousness. It is 
through persons of this latter character that the persecu- 
tion against me has commenced. I have said elsewhere, 
they went from confessor to confessor accusing themselves 
as converted from all the horrors of Quietism, and, as they 
supposed I was of the same sentiments with them, they 
caused all the indignation to fall upon me, while giving 
themselves the merit of a genuine conversion. For this 
reason they have been left, not only in peace, while I have 
been torn in pieces and persecuted in the strangest manner, 
but they have been canonized, so to say, and left at liberty 
to spread the poison of their evil principles, based solely 
on a frightful and unbounded licentiousness. my 
God, you see it and suffer it. I have done all that was 
possible to rescue some from that unhappy state, when 
providence has placed me in a position to do so. I would 
still do it, if to rescue a single one it should cost me the 
same persecution. 

I perceived every day that the Bishop of Meaux was 


going further and further away, and, what was worst for 
the cause in question, that he was confirming himself 
in his thoughts; for this confirmation places an almost 
insurmountable obstacle to the light of truth. What eluci- 
dations had I not given at the time of the first conference 
on the subject of specific requests, desires, and other acts ? 
But nothing found an entrance, because he wanted to 

condemn. I learned from the Duke de Ch that ho 

still repeated over again those same difficulties. How 
not understand that the perceived desire, being an act and 
an operation of the self, must die with the other acts or, 
rather, must pass into God, in order no longer to have 
other desires than those God gives; and as one no more 
takes back his own will, so one no more takes back his 
desires? This does not hinder God from making him 
desire and will as it pleases him, and he who moves the 
soul can move her to desire, although she no longer has 
oivn desires ; for if she had them as oivn, it would be a 
continued subsistence of the selfhood : but the author of 
the "Essential Will" says on that all that can be said, 
as well as St. Francis de Sales ** On the Will ; " for the 
same reasoning will apply to both. It is, that it is not 
a death or loss of desires, or of will, but a flowing of those 
same desires and of that will into God, because the soul 
transports with her all she possesses. While she is in 
herself she desires and wills in her manner; when she 
is passed into God, she wills and desires in the manner 
of God. If one does not admit the flowing of the desires 
into God, one must admit loss neither of own operation 
nor of own act, nor of will. The one is so attached to 
the other that they are indivisible. In the same way as 
one does not resume at any time his operations, after 
having given them up ; as one does not return into the 
womb of his mother, after having left it : in the same 
way, one does not resume any more his own desires. 
But in the same way as one does not give up his own 


operations in order to become useless, but in order to let 
God operate, and to operate one's self by his movement, so 
one lets his desires flow into God only in order to desire 
according to his movement, and to will through his will. 
We cannot condemn the one without condemning the 
other, for they are necessarily linked. After all, I am 
not the only person who speaks of the annihilation of 
the selfhood. If they condemn it in me, the channel is 
nothing by itself. God will write it in the spirit and in 
the heart of whom he pleases. That fixation of the 
Bishop of Meaux caused me infinite trouble, because, 
whatever I might do to enlighten him from outside, it 
is God's part to stir the interior ; but how can he do it 
if one remains shut up, though it should be only by a hair ? 

I further learned that one of the great complaints of 
the Bishop of Meaux was, that I praised myself and had 
frightful presumption. I would willingly ask, who is the 
more humble, he who uses of himself words of humility 
and says nothing to his advantage (though ordinarily such 
persons, being praised by others in this matter, would 
find it hard to bear that people should take them at their 
word), or he, who simply says of himself the good and 
the ill, quite unconcerned that all the world may think 
ill of us and decry us in reality? He who humbles 
himself, or he who is quite content to be humiliated ? As 
for me, I tell what I know of good in me, because it 
belongs to my Master ; but I am not troubled that nothing 
of it should be beHeved, that I should be decried at the 
sermon, that I should be defamed in the gazette. This 
does not affect me more than when I praise myself ; and, 
as I do not correct my apparent pride because I have no 
shame of it, so I do not trouble myself at the public 
decry, because I think more ill of myself than all the 
others can do. 

The Bishop of Chalons, who had returned, after having 
taken a holiday, to examine as well the books as the 


commentaries on scripture, consented to the proposal that 
was made bim, that they should meet at the country 
house of M. Tronson ; because he, being weak and much 
ailing, could not go to the houses of those gentlemen. I 

had asked as a favour the Duke de Ch should be 

present as a special friend of those two prelates, through 
whom everything had passed, very well instructed in the 
matter in hand, as well as in that which had given rise to 
this examination. I also asked that, after having examined 
a difficulty, the decision on it should be written, in order 
to put the facts beyond question. This appeared to me 
absolutely necessary, not only for the elucidation of the 
truth, but in order to have a subsisting proof of what I, 
as well as the others, had to lay down for myself upon the 
root of things, and on that which had furnished the matter 
of the examination. But the Bishop of Meaux, who had 
promised Madame de Maintenon a condemnation, and who 
wished to make himself master of the business, raised so 
many difficulties, sometimes under one pretext, sometimes 
under another, that he found means of evading all I had 
asked, and letting nothing appear but what seemed good to 
him. He said then, I might see M. Tronson separately, 
after I had seen the Bishop of Chalons with him. The 
meeting was at the house of the Bishop of Meaux, and the 

Duke de Ch was there, expecting to be present at the 

conference, as I had asked for him. The Bishop of Chalons 
arrived early. I spoke to him with much ingenuousness, 
and as he was not yet filled with the impressions which 
have since been given to him, I had every ground for 
being satisfied. I had the consolation of seeing him enter 
with kindness into what I said. 

The Bishop of Meaux, after keeping us a long time 
waiting, arrived towards evening, and, after a moment of 
general conversation, he opened a portfolio he had brought, 

and said to the Duke de Ch , that, the question being 

about doctrine and a matter purely ecclesiastical, the 

302 MADAME GUYON. [Part II r. 

discussion of which only concerned the Bishops, he did not 
think it suitable that he should remain present, and it 
might be a constraint on them. It was a pure evasion, in 
order to avoid a witness of that character, on whom, clever 
as he was, it would not have been possible for him to 
impose : for he knew him far too well instructed to allow 
himself to be surprised, and too upright not to testify the 
truth as to facts which should have taken place under 
his eyes. The business was not a decision on faith, the 
judgment of which belongs to the Bishops, but a quiet 
discussion of my sentiments, which it was desirable to 
elucidate in order to see wherein I went too far, and 
whether my expressions on the matters of the interior life 
were conformable, or not, to those of the approved mystic 
authors, as I believed I had not departed from them : for 
I had protested hundreds of times my submission in what 
these gentlemen should tell me to be of faith and of the 
dogma of the Church ; on which I noways pretended to 
dispute with them. But the Bishop of Meaux pursued 
his course, and would not for anything deviate from it. 
I felt in the depth of my heart the refusal of that prelate. 
I at once knew its consequences, and I no longer doubted 
the engagements he had undertaken for a condemnation. 
What more natural than the presence of a person of the 

character of the Duke de Ch , who had the merit, the 

probity, and the depth of knowledge that every one knows, 
through whom everything had passed, and who was so 
much interested in the elucidation on hand, in order to 
undeceive himself and the others, supposing me mistaken, 
and that I had, contrary to my intentions, inspired senti- 
ments opposed to the purity of the faith ? What, I say, 
more natural than to have a witness of this character, who 
would have only served to confound me, if I had spoken 
differently from what he had heard me say at all times ; or 
who might have disabused himself and disabused the others, 
in a quiet conference whore I might have boon shown my 


errors ? It was even the end they had in view when they 
had commenced to speak of this business : but God did not 

permit it, and the Duke de Ch did not deem it proper 

to insist, seeing the Bishop of Chalons answered nothing : 
besides this, he only acted through kindness and yield- 
ing to my great desire. I remained, then, alone with these 
two gentlemen. The Bishop of Meaux spoke a long time 
to prove all ordinary Christians had the same grace. I 
endeavoured to prove the contrary ; but as the business 
properly was only to justify my expressions on things of 
more consequence, I did not insist thereon, and only 
thought of making him see the conformity of my senti- 
ments with those of the approved authors who have 
written on the interior life. He still reiterated that one 
gave to that life too perfect a state, and endeavoured to 
obscure and make nonsense of all I said ; particularly when 
he saw the Bishop of Chalons touched, penetrated, and 
entering into what I was saying to him. There was no 
use in disputing, but to submit, and to be ready to believe 
and act conformably to what they should say. It has 
always been the true disposition of my heart, and I have 
no trouble in giving up my own judgment. 

I had previously written a letter to the Bishop of 
Meaux with my ordinary simplicity, in which I told him 
that I would be noway distressed to believe I had been 
mistaken. He produced it with a malignant turn, as an 
avowal I had made of having been mistaken in matter of 
faith ; and that, recognizing my errors after he had made 
me know them, I had declared, as if in scorn, I was no- 
way concerned at it : and it was in the same spirit I had 
said, in the same letter or in another, that I was as con- 
tent at writing absurdities as good things ; not at all 
taking into account the obedience in which I wrote, and 
how I expected my director, who had to judge it, would 
correct all, and thus my mistakes would serve to make 
known the unworthiness of the channel which God had 


plea=!ed to make use of. The Bishop of Meaux made a 
crime out of a letter so full of littleness and written with 
so much simplicity. He reproached me numbers of times 
with my ignorance, that I did not know anything : and, 
after having made nonsense out of all my words, he kept 
incessantly crying out, he was astonished at my ignor- 
ance. I answered nothing to these reproaches : and the 
ignorance, of which he accused me, ought to make him see 
at least that I speak the truth, when I assert it is by an 
actual light I write, nothing otherwise remaining in my 
mind. He made another crime of what I have said — that 
to adhere to God is a commencement of union ; and he 
continually reverted to his attempt to prove to me, that all 
Christians with ordinary faith, without spiritual life, can 
arrive at deification. But it is impossible to answer a 
man who knocks you down, who does not listen to you, 
and who incessantly crushes you. As for me, I lose then 
the thread of what I wish to say, and remember nothing. 

That conference was of no use for the root of the 
matters. It only put the Bishop of Meaux in a position to 
tell Madame de Maintenon that he had made the proposed 
examination, and that, having convinced me of my errors, 
be hoped with time to make me alter my opinion, by 
engaging me to go and spend some time in a convent of 
Meaux, where he would be able to finish more tranquilly 
what he had, as it were, sketched out. As for me, when 
they spoke to me of being examined by these gentlemen, 
I rejoiced at it, because I believed, according to all ordi- 
nary usage, they would all three together see me : and, as 
a consequence, Jesus Christ would preside there. I hoped 
thereby to win my cause : because I did not doubt the 
Lord would make them know the truth, my innocence, and 
the malice of my accusers. But God, who apparently 
willed I should suffer all that has since happened to me, 
did not permit it to be thus. He gave power to the Devil 
to act, to hinder the imion of those three gentlemen, and 
to introduce disorder in everything. 


As the Bishop of Meaux had come only at night, I had 
had previously full opportunity of conversing for a long 
time with the Bishop of Chalons, in presence of the Duke 

de Ch . That prelate appeared very well satisfied 

with me, and even said to me I had only to continue my 
manner of prayer, and he prayed God to augment more 
and more his graces to me. In the outbursts of the 
Bishop of Meaux he softened the blows as much as he 
could, and made me see, on this occasion, that, when he 
acted of himself, he did it with all the kindness and equity 
possible. All he could do was to write down some answers 
I made, addressing myself to him, because the Bishop of 
Meaux, in the heat of his prejudice, abused me without 
being willing to listen to me. 

I wished to see this prelate once again. I saw him 
alone, and although he had been already prejudiced, he 
appeared satisfied with the conference, and repeated to me, 
that he saw nothing to change either in my manner of 
prayer or the rest : that I should continue : that he would 
pray God to augment his mercies upon me, and that I 
should remain concealed in my solitude, as I had been 
doing for two years. I promised him. It was deemed 
proper I should go and see M. Tronson. I went to Issi. 

The Duke de Ch had the kindness to be present. M. 

Tronson examined me with more exactness than the 

others. The Duke de Ch had the kindness himself to 

write the questions and the answers. I spoke to him with 

all the freedom possible. The Duke de Ch said to 

him, "You see she is straightforward." He answered, 
" I feel it indeed." That word was worthy of so great a 
servant of God as he was, who judged not only by the 
intellect but by the taste of the heart. I withdrew then, 
and M. Tronson appeared satisfied, although a false letter 
against me had been sent to him, which purported to come 
from a person who denied it. 




Who would not have thought, after all these examinations, 
apparently satisfactory, that I should have been left in 
peace ? Quite the contrary happened ; because, the more 
my innocence appeared, the more those who had under- 
taken to make me criminal, set in motion springs to reach 
their end. Things were on this footing when the Bishop 
of Meaux, to whom I had offered to go and spend some 
time in a Community of his diocese, that he might know 
me of himself, proposed to me ** The Daughters of St. 
Mary," of Meaux. This offer had pleased him immensely ; 
for he expected, as I have since learned, to draw from it 
great temporal advantages. He believed them even still 
greater; and he said to Mother Picard, Superior of the 
convent where I entered, that it would be worth the Arch- 
bishopric of Paris or a Cardinal's hat to him. I answered 
the Mother, when she told it to me, that God would not 
permit him to have either the one or the other. I set out 
as soon as he told me. It was the month of January, 1695, 
in the most frightful winter there has been for a long time, 
either before or since. I was near perishing in the snow, 
where I remained four hours ; the carriage having got into 
it, and being almost covered in a hollow way. I and my 
maid were drawn out through the window. We sat upon 
the snow, awaiting the mercy of God, expecting only death. 
I have never had more tranquillity, although benumbed and 


wetted with the snow we melted. These are the occasions 
that show if one is perfectly abandoned to Ged. That 
poor girl and I were without inquietude, in perfect resigna- 
tion, certain of dying if we passed the night, and seeing no 
prospect of help. We were there when some carters passed, 
and they extricated us with difficulty. It was ten at night 
when we arrived. We were not expected ; and when the 
Bishop of Meaux first learned it, he was astonished, 
and very pleased that I had thus risked my life to obey 
him punctually. I had an illness of six weeks, a continued 

But that which had at first appeared so good to the 
Bishop of Meaux, afterwards only seemed ** artifice " and 
** hypocrisy." It is thus they described, and still describe, 
the little good God makes me do ; and far from believing 
the gospel, which assures us that a tree cannot be bad 
whose fruits are good, as they will have it that the tree is 
bad, they attribute the good to a malicious and hypocritical 
artifice. It is a strange hypocrisy that lasts a whole life, 
and which, far from bringing us any advantage, causes 
only crosses, calumnies, troubles and confusions, poverty, 
discomfort, and all sorts of ills. I think one has never 
seen the like ; for ordinarily one is only a hypocrite to 
attract the esteem of men, or to make one's fortune. I am 
assuredly a bad hypocrite, and I have badly learned the 
trade, since I have so ill succeeded. I take my God to 
witness, who knows that I do not lie, that if to be Empress 
of all the earth and to be canonized during my life, which 
is the ambition of hypocrites, I had to suffer what I have 
suffered for wishing to be my God's without reserve, I 
would have rather chosen to beg my bread and die as a 
criminal. These are my sentiments without disguise. 
Therefore I bear this testimony to myself in the presence 
of my God : that I have desired to please but him alone ; 
that I have sought only him for himself ; that I abhor my 
own interest more than death ; that this long series Of 


persecutions which is not finished, and which to all 
appearance will last as long as my life, has never made 
me change my sentiments, nor repent of having given 
myself to God and having abandoned all for him. I have 
found myself at times when nature was fearfully over- 
burdened ; but the love of God and his grace have rendered 
sweet for me, without sweetness, the most bitter bitterness : 
not that I had within any sensible support — by no means ; 
for my dear Master struck me still more rudely than men. 
Thus was I, on the part of God and men, without support, 
or perceived consolation : but his invisible and unfelt hand 
supported me ; without that, I had succumbed to so many 
troubles. " All your waves," I sometimes say, " have fallen 
upon me ; " *' you have drawn against me all the arrows 
from your quiver." But a hand one adores and loves 
cannot give rough blows. I was not afiiicted with the 
sort of afflictions which one pities and which are honour- 
able. I appeared severely chastised for my crimes. It is 
that which made every one think he had a right to ill treat 
me and believe he rendered a great service to God. 
Methinks I then understood that it was the manner in 
which Jesus Christ had suffered. The sufferings and the 
death of St. John were glorious for him, but those of Jesus 
Christ were full of confusion. " He has been numbered 
among the malefactors," and it will be always true to say 
he was condemned by the sovereign Pontiff, by the chief 
priests, the doctors of the Law : even judges that did not 
belong to their nation, deputed by the Romans, who 
prided themselves on doing justice. Happy those who 
suffer with all these circumstances, so closely related to 
the sufferings of Jesus Christ ; who was further struck by 
God, his Father. But how bitter are sufferings of this kind, 
the most bitter of all to him who has not the same taste 
as Jesus Christ ! The condemnation of the impious is 
nothing; but the condemnation of persons esteemed just 
in everything, appears a condemnation arrived at with 


knowledge of the case, by judges, equitable and full of 
light, after complete examination. 

To return to my subject. I entered the convent in the 
state I was in. I waited more than an hour in the porter's 
lodge, benumbed and without fire, because it was necessary 
to inform the Bishop of Meaux, and to rouse up the nuns. 
There was in their lodge a good-natured man, who, as 
I have since learned, was a man of prayer : he said quite 
aloud, " That lady must indeed belong to God, and be 
spiritual, to wait in the state she is in with so much 
tranquillity." By this remark he impressed some sort of 
esteem for me upon persons who had been strongly set 
against me. The Bishop of Meaux wished me to change 
my name, that, as he said, it should not be known I was 
in his diocese, and that people should not torment him on 
my account. The project was the finest in the world, if he 
could have kept a secret ; but he told every one he saw, 
I was in such a convent, under such a name. Immediately, 
from all sides, anonymous libels against me were sent to 
the Mother Superior and the nuns. This did not prevent 
Mother Picard and the nuns from esteeming and loving me. 
I had come to Meaux in order that the Bishop should 
examine me, as he told everybody ; and yet he set off for 
Paris the day after my arrival, and did not return till 
Easter. He ordered I should communicate as often as the 
nuns, and even oftener if I wished it ; but I did not care 
to do so, conforming as much as possible to the Com- 

It happened, meantime, that those who persecuted me 
circulated a letter that they said was from the Bishop of 
Grenoble, in which it was stated, he had driven me from 
his diocese ; that I had been convicted, in the presence of 
Father Richebrac, then Prior of the Benedictines of St. 
Eobert of Grenoble, of horrible things, although I had 
letters from the Bishop of Grenoble since my return, which 
proved quite the contrary, and which showed the esteem he 

310 MADAME GUYON. [Paut HI. 

had for me. I wrote to Father Richebrac. Here is the 
answer I received : — 

" Madame, 

"Is it possible that it should be necessary to 
seek me in my solitude in order to fabricate a calumny 
against you, and that they made me the instrument of it ? 
I never thought what they put in my mouth, nor of making 
the complaints of which they pretend I am the author. I 
declare, on the contrary, and I have already many times 
declared, that I have never heard of you anything but 
what is very Christian and very honourable. I should 
have taken good care not to see you, Madame, if I had 
believed you capable of saying what I would not dare to 
write, and what the Apostle forbids us to name. If it is, 
however, necessary in your justification I should name it, 
I will do it on the first notice, and I will distinctly say : there 
is absolutely nothing of the kind ; that is to say, I have 
never heard you say anything similar nor anything which 
has the least resemblance to it ; and, for my part, I have 
said nothing which could lead any one to believe I had heard 
it of you. They have already written to me on the subject, 
and I have already given the same answer. I would do it a 
thousand times more if I was asked a thousand times. 
Two stories are mixed up, which should not be confounded. 
I know that of the girl who retracted ; and you, for your 
part, know, Madame, the part I took in the business with 
the Prelate — simply through zeal for the truth, and not to 
wound my conscience by a cowardly silence. I then spoke 
freely, and I am ready to do the same, if God at present 
requires it of me, as then he did. I shall believe he 
requires it if I am asked. But what shall I say more 
precise than what I say here ? Nevertheless, if anything 
more is necessary, take the trouble to inform me. I will 
render testimony to the truth. It is in this disposition 


I am, sincerely in our Lord, while asking your prayers to 

«Blois,Aprill4, 1695." 

The Bishop of Grenoble wrote, at the same time, to the 
person who had set going that pretended letter [it was the 
Cure of St. James of Haut-pas] in a manner to make him 
feel how indignant he was that he should be put forth as 
the author of such calumnies. In fact, how would it be 
possible to reconcile the horrors it imputed to me at the 
time of my sojourn at Grenoble, with the letters he had 
written in my favour to his brothers at Paris, to recommend 
my interests to them, more than a year after I had left his 
diocese. Here is the copy of that which was for the Civil 
Lieutenant, that he sent in the letter he did me the honour 
to write me : — 

" I could not refuse to the virtue and the piety of 
Madame de la Mothe Guyon the recommendation she 
asks to you. Sir, in favour of her family, in a business 
which is before you. I should have some scruples if I did 
not know the uprightness of her intentions and your 
integrity : therefore permit me to solicit you to do her all 
the justice which is due to her. I ask it with all the 
cordiality with which I am yours, 

"Cardinal Camus. 

" Grenoble, Jan. 25, 1688." 

Here is the letter he wrote me : — 

" Madame, 

** I should wish to have, more often than I have, 
opportunities of letting you know how dear to me are 
your interests, temporal and spiritual. I bless God that 
you have approved the counsels I have given you for these 
latter. I omit nothing to engage the Civil Lieutenant to 
render you the justice which is due to you for the former. 


Praying you to believe you will always find me disposed to 
prove to you by everything that I am truly, Madame, 
" Your affectionate servant, 

" Cardinal Camus." 

" Grenoble, January 28, 1688." 

Yet nothing contributed more to the general defaming 
than that other pretended letter of the Bishop of Grenoble. 
For how contradict a testimony such as that of the Cure 
of St. James, so well known at that time by his connection 
with a great number of persons of merit, to whom he had 
given a copy of that letter, so that in fifteen days' time all 
Paris was full of it ! The Bishop of Meaux, who had a 
copy like the rest, was strangely surprised at the answer 
of Father de Eichebrac, as well as at the letters of the 
Bishop of Grenoble, which I let him see. He protested 
against the blackness of the calumny. He had good 
moments, which were afterwards destroyed by the persons 
who urged him against me, and by his self-interest. A 
Cure of Paris made out another very terrible and very 
ridiculous story. He went to the house of a person of the 
highest rank, and, speaking of me, he said I had taken 
away a woman from her husband, a person of position, 
and had made her marry her Cure. He was strongly 
pressed to say how that could be done. He persisted still, 
that nothing was more true. That gentleman and his 
wife no longer doubted, and immediately told one of their 
friends, who went to see them, and who knew me. The 
thing at first appeared to him incredible ; but they main- 
tained so strongly the Cure had assured them of it, that he 
had the curiosity to clear up the matter, firmly determined 
never to see me again if the thing was so. He went to see 
that Cure. He questioned him about me, and pressed him 
closely. At last the Cure said to him, I was capable of 
that, and even worse. This gentleman said to him, 
" But, Sir, I do not ask you what she is capable of You 


do not know her. But I ask you if it is true she has done 
that ? " He said no, but I was capable of doing worse. 
The Cure had never seen me, so this judgment was 
astonishing. At last it turned out that it was in Auvergne 
the thing had happened. I believe he even said it was 
forty years ago. This strangely astonished those to whom 
he had related the fable, when they had learned its false- 
hood. I wonder how they could have credited it. 

Yet another stratagem was practised ; this was, to send 
to confession to all the Cures and confessors of Paris a 
wicked woman, who assumed the name of one of my maids. 
This woman was La Gautiere. She confessed to several 
in a single day, in order to let none escape. She told 
them she had served me sixteen or seventeen years, but 
she had left me, being unable in conscience to live with such 
a wicked woman ; that she had left me owing to my abomi- 
nations. In less than eight days I was decried through 
all Paris, and I passed, without contradiction, for the most 
wicked person in the world. Those who so spoke believed 
themselves well informed, and that they knew it from a 
very reliable source. It happened that the maid who 
served me was at confession to a canon of Notre Dame. 
She spoke to him of the troubles that were caused to her 
mistress, who was, she said, very innocent. The Canon 
begged her to tell him her name. She told it to him. He 
replied, " You astonish me, for a person who does not in 
the least resemble you, has come here saying she is you, 
and has told me horrible things." She disabused him, and 
showed him the blackness of that procedure. The same 
thing happened to four or five others. But could she 
disabuse all the confessors ? And I never would suffer her 
to use confession to make known the truth, leaving every- 
thing to God, and not wishing to lose any of the crosses or 
humiliations he has himself chosen for me. In the midst 
of so many contradictions, I have not been without illness 
and very acute pain. 


I was, then, all the time from my arrival at Meaux to 
Easter without seeing the Bishop, who returned from Paris 
only for that festival. I was still very ill. He came into 
my room, and the first thing he said to me was, that I had 
many enemies, and that everything was let loose against 
me. He brought me the articles composed at Issi. I 
asked him the explanation of some passages, and I signed 
them. I was much more ill afterwards. He came back 
the day of the Annunciation, which had been put back 
after Easter. I have a very great devotion to the In- 
carn tte Word, and while the nuns were finishing the 
burning of a triangular candle before an image I had of 
the Child Jesus, as they were singing a musical motet, 
the Bishop of Meaux entered. He asked what was the 
meaning of the music in my closet. They answered, that, 
as I had a very great devotion to the Incarnate Word, 
I had given them a treat that day, and they were come 
to thank me, and sing the motet in honour of the Incarnate 
Word. They were hardly out of my chamber, when he 
came to my bed, and said to me that he wished me to sign 
immediately that I did not believe in the Incarnate Word. 
Several nuns who were in the antechamber near my door 
heard him. I was greatly astonished at such a proposi- 
tion. I told him I could not sign falsehoods. He answered, 
he would make me do it. I answered him, that I knew 
how to suffer by the grace of God ; I knew how to die ; 
I did not know how to sign falsehoods. He answered, 
that he begged me, and if I did that, he would re-establish 
my reputation, which they were endeavouring to tear to 
pieces ; that he would say of me all the good in the world. 
I replied, that it was for God to take care of my reputation 
if lie approved of it, and for me to sustain my faith at the 
peril of my life. Seeing he gained nothing, he withdrew. 

I am under this obligation to Mother Picard and the 
Community, that they gave him the most favourable testi- 
mony about me. Here is one they gave me in writing : — 


" We the undersigned, Superior and nuns of the Visita- 
tion of St. Mary of Meaux, certif}^ that Madame Guyon 
having lived in our House by the order and permission of 
the Bishop of Meaux, our illustrious Prelate and Superior, 
for the space of six months, she has not given us any 
cause for trouble or annoyance, but much of edification ; 
having never spoken to a person within or without except 
with special permission ; having, besides, neither received 
nor written anything except as the Bishop has permitted 
her ; having observed in all her conduct and all her words a 
great regularity, simplicity, sincerity, humility, mortifica- 
tion, sweetness, and Christian patience, and a true devotion 
and esteem of all that is of the faith, especially in the 
mystery of the Incarnation and Holy Childhood of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. That if the said lady wished to choose our 
House to live there the rest of her days in retirement, our 
Community would deem it a favour and gratification. 
This protest is simple and sincere, without other view or 
thought than to bear witness to the truth. 
" (Signed) Sister Francois Elizabeth le Picard, Superior. 

" Sister Magdalen Amy Gueton. 

" Sister Claude Marie Amouri. 
" July 7, 1695." 

When they spoke to the Bishop of Meaux of me, he 
answered, " Just as you, I see in her nothing but good ; 
but her enemies torment me, and want to find evil in her." 
He wrote one day to Mother Picard, that he had examined 
my writings with great care ; that he had not found in 
them anything except some terms which were not in all 
the strictness of theology ; but that a woman was not 
bound to be a theologian. Mother Picard showed me that 
letter to console me, and I swear before God I write nothing 
but what is perfectly true. 



Some days afterwards the Bishop of Meaux returned. He 
brought me a paper written by himself, which was only a 
profession of faith, that I had always been Catholic, 
Apostolic, and Roman, and a submission of my books to the 
Church, — a thing I would have done of myself, had it not 
been asked of me. And then he read me another, which he 
said he must give me. It was a certificate such as he gave 
me long afterwards, and even more favourable. As I was 
too ill to transcribe that submission in his writing, he told 
me to have it transcribed by a nun, and to sign it. He 
took away his certificate to have it copied clean, as he 
said ; and he assured me that, when I gave him the one, 
he would give me the other ; that he wished to treat me as 
his sister ; and that he would be a knave if he did not do 
so. This straightforward procedure charmed me. I told 
him I had placed myself in his hands, not only as in 
the hands of the Bishop, but as in those of a man of 
honour. Who would not have thought he would have 
carried it all out ? 

I was 80 ill after his departure, from having spoken a 
little when I was extremely weak, that I had to be brought 
back with cordial waters. The Prioress, fearing that if he 
returned the next day it would kill me, begged him by 
writing to leave mc that day quiet ; but he would not. 
On the contrary, he came that very day, and asked me if 


I had signed the writing he had left me ; and, opening a 
blue portfolio which had a lock, he said to me, " Here is 
my certificate ; where is your submission ? " AVhile saying 
this, he held in his hand a paper. I showed him my sub- 
mission, which was on my bed, and that I had not the 
strength to give it to him. He took it. I did not doubt he 
was about to give me his writing ; but nothing of the kind. 
He shut up the whole in his portfolio, and said he would 
give me nothing ; that I was not at the end ; that he 
was about to torment me more, and that he wanted other 
signatures — among others this, that I did not believe in 
the Incarnate Word. I remained without strength and 
without speech. He ran away. The nuns were shocked 
at such a trick ; for nothing obliged him to promise me 
a certificate. I had not asked him. It was then I made 
the protestations, which are initialled by a notary of 
Meaux; I asked for him, under pretext of making my 

Some time after, the Prelate again came to see me. He 
required me to sign his pastoral letter, and to acknowledge 
I had held the errors therein condemned. I endeavoured to 
make him see, that what I had given him comprehended 
every kind of submission, and although in that letter he 
had placed me in the rank of evil-doers, I was endeavouring 
to honour that state of Jesus Christ without complaining. 
He said to me, " But you have promised to submit your- 
self to my condemnation." " I do it with all my heart, 
Monseigneur," 1 answered him ; " and I take no more 
interest in those little books than if I had not written them. 
I will never depart, if it pleases God, from the submission 
and respect I owe you, however things turn. But Mon- 
seigneur, you have promised me a discharge." " I will 
give it to you when you do what I wish," he said to me. 
" Monseigneur, you did me the honour to tell me that when 
I gave you signed that act of submission you had dictated 
to me, you would give me my discharge." ** Those are," 


said he, " words which escaped before having maturely con- 
sidered what one can and ought to do." " It is not to make 
complaint that I say this to you, Monseigneur, but to bring 
to your memory that you promised it to me ; and, to show 
you my submission, I am willing to write at the foot of 
your pastoral whatever I can put there." After I had 
done this, and he had read it, he said that he liked it 
well enough. Then, after having put it in his pocket, he 
said to me, " That is not the question. You do not say 
you are formally a heretic, and I wish you to declare it, and 
also that the letter is very just, and that you acknowledge to 
have been in all the errors it condemns." I answered him, 
" I believe, Monseigneur, it is to try me you say this ; for 
I shall never persuade myself that a Prelate so full of piety 
and honour would use the good faith with which I have 
come and placed myself in his diocese, to make me do 
things I cannot do in conscience. I have thought to 
find in you a Father. I conjure you that I may not be 
deceived in my expectation." " I am Father of the 
Church," he said to me, " but, in short, it is not a question 
of words. If you do not sign what I wish, I will come 
with witnesses, and, after having admonished you before 
them, I will accuse you to the Church, and we will cut you 
off, as it is said in the gospel." " Monseigneur," I answered, 
" I have only my God for a witness. I am ]3repared to 
suffer everything, and I hope God will give me the grace to 
do nothing contrary to my conscience, without departing 
ever from the respect I owe you." He further wished, in 
the same conversation, to oblige me to declare that I 
recognized there are errors in the Latin book of Father La 
Combe, and to declare, at tlie same time, I had not read it. 
The worthy nuns who saw part of the violence and 
outburst of the Bishop of Meaux could not get over it, and 
Mother Picard said to me that my too great gentleness 
emboldened him to ill treat me ; because his character was 
such, that he ordinarily behaved thus to quiet people, and 


bent to haughty persons. However, I never changed my 
conduct, and I preferred to accept the role of suffermg, 
than to deviate in anything from the respect I owed his 
character. I am confident that all the persons who have 
known that I had been to Meaux have believed two things 
equally false : the one, that I was there by the King's 
order, while it was of my own accord ; the other, that 
during the six months I was there the Bishop of Meaux 
had interrogated me at different times, to learn my 
thought upon the inner life, what was my manner of 
prayer, or on the love of God. Nothing of the kind. He 
has never spoken to me on these things. When he came, 
it was, he said, my enemies who told him to torment me ; 
that he was satisfied with me. At other times he came 
full of fury, to demand that signature he well knew I 
would not give him. He threatened me with all that has 
since been done. He did not intend, he said, to lose his 
fortune for me ; and a thousand other things. After these 
explosions he returned to Paris, and was some time 
without again coming. 

At last, having been about six months at Meaux, he 
gave me of himself a certificate, and no longer demanded 
from me any other signature. What is astonishing is, that, 
at the time he was most excited against me, he said that 
if I wished to come and live in his diocese he would be 
pleased ; that he wished to write upon the inner life, and 
that God had given me upon this very certain lights. He 
had seen that life of which he has so much spoken. He 
never told me he found anything to object to therein. All 
this has happened only since I ceased to see him ; or he 
has seen in that life which he no longer had, what he had 
not seen when he was reading it. Shortly before I left 
Meaux, he told the Bishop of Paris and the Archbishop 
of Sens how satisfied he was, and edified by me. He 
preached to us on the day of the Visitation of the Virgin, 
which is one of the principal festivals of tliis convent. He 


there said the Mass, and wished me to communicate from 
his hand. In the middle of the Mass he gave an astonish- 
ing sermon on the inner life. He advanced things much 
stronger than those I have advanced. He said he was not 
master of himself in the midst of these awful mysteries ; 
he was obliged to speak the truth, and not to dissimu- 
late ; that it must be that this avowal of the truth was 
necessary, since God compelled him to make it in spite 
of himself. The Prioress went to salute him after his 
sermon, and asked him how he could torment me, thinking 
as he did. He answered her it was not he, it was my 
enemies. A little after, I left Meaux; but my departure 
has been related with so much malignity, that I must 
explain all the circumstances. 

As I had been six months at Meaux, where I had 
promised to remain only three, and, besides, my health was 
very bad, I asked the Bishop of Meaux if he was satisfied, 
and if he desired anything more of me. He answered, 
"No." I told him I would go away then, because I had 
need of visiting Bourbon. I asked him if he would be 
pleased that I should come to end my days among those 
good nuns ; for they loved me much, and I loved them, 
although the air was very bad for me. He was very well 
pleased at it, and told me he would always receive me 
gladly; that the nuns were very satisfied and edified by 
me ; that he was returning to Paris. I told him my 
daughter, or some ladies of my friends, would come to 
fetch me. He turned to the Prioress, and said to her, 
" My Mother, I pray you to receive those who come to 
fetch madame, whether it be her daughter or her friends ; 
to let them sleep and lodge in your house, and keep them 
there as long as they wish." It is well known how sub- 
missive are those nuns of St. Mary to their Bishop, and 
their exactitude to follow to the letter whatever he orders 
them, without the least variation. Two ladies then came 
to fetch me. They arrived for dinner. They dined. 


supped, and slept, and dined again the next day at the 
convent ; then, about three o'clock, we set out. 

Hardly had I arrived when the Bishop of Meaux re- 
pented having let me go out of his diocese. What made 
him change, as we have since known, is that, when he 
gave an account to Madame de Maintenon of the terms in 
which this affair was concluded, she let him know she was 
dissatisj&ed with the attestation he had given me : that it 
concluded nothing, and would even have a contrary effect 
to what was proposed, which was to undeceive the persons 
who were favourably disposed to me. He believed then, 
in losing me, he was losing all the hopes with which he 
had flattered himself. He wrote to me to return to his 
diocese, and I received at the same time a letter from the 
Prioress, that he was more resolved than ever to torment 
me ; that, whatever desire she had to have me again, she 
was obliged to let me know the sentiments of the Bishop 
of Meaux conformable to what I knew. What I knew is, 
that he was building a lofty fortune upon persecuting me, 
and, as he aimed at a person far above me, he thought 
that, in my escaping him, everything escaped him. 
Mother Picard, in sending me the letter of which I have 
just spoken, sent me a new attestation of the Bishop 
of Meaux. so different from the former which he wished 
me to return, that I judged henceforth I had no justice to 
expect from the Prelate. He had written to her to take 
back the first attestation, and to give me the latter ; and, if 
I had set out from Meaux, she should at once send it to 
me, in order he might have back the former which he had 
given me. The Mother, who clearly saw by past treatment 
what I should be exposed to, if I again fell into the hands 
of the Bishop of Meaux, let me sufficiently understand it 
by her letter, to decide me to avoid for the future all 
discussion with him. However, to observe with him all 
the rules of politeness from which I have never departed 
(without complaining of a procedure so peculiar and so 

VOL. 11. Y 


full of injustice), I answered the Mother Superior, that 
I had made over to my family what the Bishop of Meaux 
asked back ; that, after all that had passed, they had such 
an interest in a document of that nature, which consti- 
tuted my justification, it was unlikely they would part 
with it ; the more so, as that which she sent me from the 
Prelate not only served nothing for my justification, but 
seemed to countenance all that had been said against me, 
while saying nothing to the contrary. 

Here is the copy of the said first attestation : — 

" We, Bishop of Meaux, certify to all whom it may 
concern, that, by means of the declarations and submission 
of Madame Guyon which we have before us subscribed with 
her hand, and the prohibitions accepted by her with 
submission, of writing, teaching, dogmatizing in the 
Church, or of spreading her books printed or manuscript, 
or of conducting souls in the ways of prayer, or otherwise : 
together with the good testimony that has been furnished 
us during six months that she is in our diocese and in the 
convent of St. Mary, we are satisfied with her conduct, and 
have continued to her the participation of the Holy 
Sacraments in which we have found her : we declare, 
besides, we have not found her implicated in any way in 
the abominations of Molinos or others elsewhere con- 
demned, and we have not intended to comprehend her in 
the mention which has been made by us of them in our 
Ordinance of April 6, 1695 : given at Meaux, July 1, 1695. 
" F. Benigne, Bishop of Meaux." 

Here is the copy of the second : — 

" "We, Bishop of Meaux, have received the present sub- 
missions and declarations of the said Dame Guyon, as well 
that of the 16th of April, 1695, as that of the 1st of July of 
the same year, and we have delivered her a certificate of 
it to avail her what is proper, declaring we have always 


received her and receive her without objection in the 
participation of the Holy Sacraments in which we have 
found her, as the submission and sincere obedience, both 
before and since the time she is in our diocese and in the 
Convent of St. Mary, together with the authentic declaration 
of her faith and the testimony which has been furnished us 
and is furnished us of her good conduct for the six months 
she has been at the said convent, required it. We have 
enjoined her to make at suitable times the requests and 
other acts we have marked in the said articles by her 
subscribed as essential to piety and expressly commanded 
by God, without any believer being able to dispense with 
them under pretext of other acts pretended more perfect or 
eminent, or other pretexts whatever they be, and we have 
given her repeated prohibitions, both as Diocesan Bishop and 
in virtue of the obedience she has promised us voluntarily 
as above, of writing, teaching, or dogmatizing in the 
Church, or of spreading abroad her books printed or 
manuscript, or conducting souls in the ways of prayer, or 
otherwise, to which she has submitted anew, declaring she 

executed the said deeds. Given at Meaux, at the said 

convent, the day and year as above. 

"F. Benigne, Bishop of Meaux." 

One can judge, from the vivacity of the Bishop of Meaux 
and the hopes he had conceived, of the effect which such a 
refusal produced on him. He gave out, I had climbed 
over the walls of the convent to fly. Besides that I climb 
very badly, all the nuns were witnesses of the contrary : 
yet this has had such a currency many people still believe 
it. A procedure of that kind no longer allowed me to 
abandon myself to the discretion of the Bishop of Meaux, 
and, as I was informed they were about to push things to 
the utmost violence, I believed I should leave to God all that 
might happen and yet take all prudent steps to avoid the 
effect of the menaces that reached me from all sides. I had 


many places of retreat ; but I would not accept any, in order 
not to embarrass any one and not to involve my friends 
and my family, to whom my escape might be ascribed. I 
took the resolution of not leaving Paris, of remaining 
there in some retired place with my women, and withdraw- 
ing myself from the sight of all the world. I remained in 
this way about five or six months. I passed the days alone, 
in reading, praying God, and working : but, towards the end 
of the year 1695, I was arrested, ill as I was, and con- 
ducted to Vincennes. I was three days in seclusion in 
the house of M. des Grez, who had arrested me, because 
the King, full of justice and kindness, would not consent to 
put me in prison, saying many times, a convent was 
sufficient. They deceived his justice by the most violent 
calumnies, and painted me to his eyes with colours so black 
as even to make him ashamed of his goodness and of 
his equity. He consented then I should be taken to 



I WILL not speak here of that long persecution, which has 
made so much noise, through a succession of ten years of 
prisons of all kinds, and of an exile almost as long, which is 
not yet finished, by trials, calumnies, and all imaginable 
kinds of sufferings. There are facts too odious on the 
part of divers persons, which charity makes me cover (and 
it is in this sense charity covers a multitude of sins), and 
others on the part of those who, having been seduced by 
ill-intentioned persons, are for me respectable through their 
piety and other reasons, although they have showed too 
bitter a zeal for things of which they had no true knowledge. 
I am silent as to the one, through respect ; as to the other, 
through charity. What I may say is that through so 
long a series of crosses, with which my life has been filled, 
it may be conceived the greatest were reserved for the end, 
and that God, who has not cast me off through his kind- 
ness, took care not to leave the end of my life without a 
greater conformity with Jesus Christ. He was dragged 
before all sorts of tribunals : he has done me the favour 
to be the same. He suffered the utmost outrages without 
complaining : he has shown me the mercy of behaving 
similarly. How could I have done otherwise in the view 
he gave me of his love and of his goodness ? In this 
resemblance to Jesus Christ I regarded as favours what 
the world regarded as strange persecutions. The inward 

326 MADAME GUYON. [Part 111. 

peace and joy prevented me from seeing the most violent 
persecutors other than as instruments of the justice of 
my God, who has always been to me so adorable and so 
amiable. I was then in prison as in a place of delight 
and refreshment ; that general privation of all creatures 
giving me more opportunity of being alone with God, and 
the want of things which appear most necessary making 
me taste an exterior poverty I could not have otherwise 
tasted. Thus I have regarded all those great apparent 
ills, and that universal defamation, as the greatest of all 
blessings. It seemed to me it was the work of God's 
hand, who wished to cover his tabernacle with the skins of 
beasts to conceal it from the eyes of those to whom he was 
not willing to manifest it. 

I have borne mortal debility, overwhelming, crushing, 
and painful illnesses without treatment. God, not con- 
tent with that, abandoned me spiritually to the greatest 
desolations for some months, so that I could only say 
these single words : " My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me ? " It was at that time I was led to take the 
part of God against myself, and to practise all the aus- 
terities I could think of: seeing God and all creatures 
against me, I was delighted to be on their side against 
myself. How could I complain of what I have suffered 
with a love so detached from all otvn interest. Should 
I now be interested for myself, after having made such 
an entire sacrifice of that "me," and all that concerns it? 
I prefer, then, to consecrate all those sufferings by silence. 
If God permitted, for his glory, one day something of 
them to be known, I would adore his judgments ; but as 
for me, my part is taken in that which regards mo per- 

With regard to prayer, I must always protest of the 
truth of its ways. I have defended my innocence with 
sufficient firmness and truth to leave no doubt in the 
public mind that the calumnies which are circulated 


against persons whose prayer is genuine and love sincere, 
are false, and the talk of their calumniators rash, and 
contrary to all kinds of truth and justice. The more 
violent the calumny, the more the heart which loves God 
and whose conscience reproaches it with nothing, is happy 
and content. It seems that the persecution and the 
calumny is a weight which sinks the soul still deeper in 
God, and makes her taste an inestimable happiness. 
What matters to her that all creatures are let loose 
against her, when she is perfectly alone with her God, 
and she gives him a solid testimony of her love ? For 
when God heaps benefits upon us, it is he who gives us 
marks of his own. But when we suffer what is a thou- 
sand times more terrible than death, we give him testi- 
monies of the fidelity of ours. So, as there is no other 
means of testifying to God we love him but in bearing 
for his love the most terrible troubles, we are infinitely 
indebted to him when he gives us the means. 

But, perhaps there will be surprise that, not being 
willing to write any detail of the most severe crosses of 
my life, I have written of those which are far less. I have 
had certain reasons for doing so. I have believed myself 
bound to touch on some of the crosses of my youth, to 
make known the course of crucifixion that God has always 
led me by. As to those other passages which relate to 
a more advanced state of my life : since the calumnies 
did not concern me alone, I have felt obliged in conscience 
to give details of certain facts to expose not only their 
falsity, but also the conduct of those through whom they 
have originated, and who are the true authors of those 
persecutions, of which I have only been the accidental 
object ; particularly in these latter times, since in reality 
I have been persecuted in this way only to involve therein 
persons of great merit, who were out of reach by them- 
selves, and could be attacked personally only by mixing 
up their affairs with mine. I have thought, then, I should 


enlarge a little more in detail on what had relation to that 
class of facts : and the more so, that the question being 
of my faith, which they wished for that purpose to render 
suspected, it appeared to me of consequence to make known, 
at the same time, how far I have always been from the 
sentiments they wish to impute to me. I have thought 
it due to religion, to piety, to my friends, to my family, and 
to myself: but as to personal ill treatments, I have felt 
bound to sacrifice them, to sanctify them by a profound 
silence, as I have already said. 

I shall only cursorily say something of the dispositions 
in which I have been at the different times of my imprison- 
ment. During the time I was at "Vincennes and M. de la 
Reinie interrogated me, I continued in great peace, very 
content to pass my life there, if such was the will of God. 
I used to compose hymns, which the maid who served me 
learned by heart as fast as I composed them ; and we used 
to sing your praise, my God ! I regarded myself as a 
little bird you were keeping in a cage for your pleasure, 
and who ought to sing to fulfil her condition of life. The 
stones of my tower seemed to me rubies : that is to say, 
I esteemed them more than all worldly magnificence. My 
joy was based on your love, my God, and on the 
pleasure of being your captive ; although I made these 
reflections only when composing hymns. The central 
depth of my heart was full of that joy which you give 
to those who love you, in the midst of the greatest crosses. 

This peace was spoiled for some moments by an 
infidelity I committed. It was considering beforehand, 
one day, the answers that I should make to an interroga- 
tion that I was to be subjected to the next day. I 
answered to it all astray ; and God, so faithful, who had 
made me answer difficult and perplexed matters with much 
facility and presence of mind, knew how to punish me 
for my forethought. He permitted that I could with 
difiiculty answer the most simple things, and that I 


remained almost without knowing what to say. This 
infidelity, I say, spoiled my peace for some days ; but it 
soon returned, and I believe, my Lord, that you permitted 
this fault only to make me see the uselessness of our 
arrangements on such occasions, and the security in 
trusting ourselves to you. Those who still depend upon 
human reasoning will say, we must look beforehand and 
arrange; and that it is to tempt God and to expect 
miracles, to act otherwise. I let others think what they 
please ; for me, I find security only in abandoning myself 
to the Lord. All scripture is full of testimonies which 
demand this abandonment. " Make over your trouble 
to the hand of the Lord : he will act himself. Abandon 
yourself to his conduct : and he will himself conduct your 
steps." God has not meant to set snares for us in telling 
us this, and in teaching us not to premeditate our answers. 
When things were carried to the greatest extremity (I 
was then in the Bastille), and I learned the defaming and 
horrible outcry against me, I said to you, my God, " If 
you desire to render me a new spectacle to men and 
angels, your holy will be done. All that I ask of you 
is, that you save those who are yours, and do not permit 
them to separate themselves. Let not the powers, prin- 
cipalities, sword, etc., ever separate us from the love of 
God which is in Jesus Christ. For my own case, what 
matters it to me what men think of me ? What matters 
it what they make me suffer, since they cannot separate 
me from Jesus Christ, who is implanted in the depth of 
my heart. If I displease Jesus Christ, though I should 
please all men, it would be less to me than the dirt." Let 
all men, therefore, despise and hate me, provided I am 
agreeable to him. Their blows will polish what is defective 
in me, in order that I may be presented to him for whom 
I die every day until he comes to consume that death. 
And I prayed you, my God, to make me an offering 
pure and clean in your blood, to be soon offered to you. 


Sometimes it seemed God placed himself on the side of 
men to make me the more sufifer. I was then more 
exercised within than from outside. Everything was 
against me. I saw all men united to torment me and 
surprise me — every artifice and every subtility of the 
intellect of men who have much of it, and who studied 
to that end ; and I alone without help, feeling upon me 
the heavy hand of God, who seemed to abandon me to 
myself and my own obscurity; an entire abandonment 
within, without being able to help myself with my natural 
intellect, whose entire vivacity was deadened this long 
time since I had ceased to make use of it, in order to 
allow myself to be led by a superior intellect; having 
laboured all my life to submit my mind to Jesus Christ 
and my reason to his guidance. During this time I could 
not help myself, either with my reason, or any interior 
support ; for I was like those who have never experienced 
that admirable guidance from the goodness of God, and 
who have not natural intellect. When I prayed I had 
only answers of death. At this time that passage of 
David occurred to me : ** When they persecuted me, I 
afflicted my soul by fasting." I practised then, as long 
as my health allowed it, very rigorous fasts and austere 
penances, but all this seemed to me like burned straw. 
One moment of God's conducting is a thousand times 
more helpful. 



As my life has always been consecrated to the cross, no 
sooner had I left prison, and my mind began to breathe 
again, after so many trials, than the body was over- 
whelmed with all sorts of infirmities, and I have had 
almost continual illnesses, which brought me to death's 

In these latter times I am able to say little or nothing 
of my dispositions, because my state has become simple 
and invariable. The root of that state is a profound 
annihilation, so that I find nothing in me that can be 
named. All that I know is, that God is infinitely holy, 
just, good, happy: that he includes in himself all good, 
and I, all wretchedness. I see nothing lower than me, 
nor anything more unworthy than me. I recognize 
that God has given me graces capable of saving a 
world, and that perhaps I have paid all with ingrati- 
tude. I say, "perhaps," because nothing subsists in me, 
good or ill. The good is in God. I have for my share 
only the nothing. What can I say of a state always the 
same, without forethought or variation ; for the dryness, if 
I have it, is the same to me as a state the most satisfying. 
All is lost in the immensity, and I can neither will nor 
think. It is like a little drop of water sunk in the sea ; not 
only is it surrounded by it, but absorbed. In that divine 


immensity the soul no longer sees herself, but in God she 
discovers the objects, without discerning them, otherwise 
than by the taste of the heart. All is darkness and 
obscurity as regards her ; all is light on the part of God, 
who does not allow her to be ignorant of anything ; while 
she knows not what she knows, nor how she knows it. 
There is there neither clamour, nor pain, nor trouble, nor 
pleasure, nor uncertainty ; but a perfect peace : not in her- 
self, but in God ; no interest for herself, no recollection 
of or occupation with herself. This is what God is in 
that creature : as to her, abjectness, weakness, poverty, 
without her thinking either of her abjectness or her 
dignity. If one believes any good in me, he is mistaken, 
and does wrong to God. All good is in him, and for him. 
If I could have a satisfaction, it is from this, that HE IS 
saves me, it will be gratuitously ; for I have neither merit 
nor dignity. 

I am astonished that any confidence can be felt in this 
" nothing." I have said it ; yet I answer what is asked me 
without troubling myself whether I answer well or ill. If 
I say ill, I am not at all surprised ; if I say well, I do not 
think of attributing it to myself. I go without going, 
without forethought, without knowing where I go. I wish 
neither to go, nor to stop myself. The will and instincts 
have disappeared ; poverty and nakedness is my portion. 
I have neither confidence nor distrust, nor in short any- 
thing, anything, anything. If obliged to think in myself, I 
should probably mislead everybody, and I know neither how 
I mislead them, nor what I do to mislead them. There 
are times I would, at the peril of a thousand lives, that God 
should be known and loved. I love the Church. All that 
wounds her, wounds me. I fear everything which is con- 
trary to her ; but I cannot give a name to that fear. It is 
like an infant at the breast, who, without distinguishing 
monsters, turns away from them. I do not seek anything ; 


but there are given me at the instant expressions and words 
very forcible. If I wished to have them they would escape 
me, and if I wished to recall them, the same. When I have 
anything to say and I am interrupted, everything is lost. I 
am then like a child, from whom an apple is taken away 
without his perceiving it. He seeks it, and no longer finds 
it. I am vexed for a moment at its being taken from 
me ; but I immediately forget it. God keeps me in an 
extreme simplicity, uprightness of heart, and largeness ; so 
that I do not perceive these things except in the occasions : 
for without an occasion stirring it I do not see anything. 
If one said anything to my advantage, I should be surprised, 
not finding anything in myself. If one blames me the 
only thing I know is, I am the same abjectness, but I do 
not see what they blame there. I believe it without seeing 
it, and everything disappears. If I am made to reflect 
upon myself, I do not recognize there any good. I see 
all good in God. I know he is the principle of all, and, 
without him, I am only a fool. 

He gives me a free air, and makes me converse with 
persons, not according to my dispositions, but according to 
what they are, giving me even natural cleverness with 
those who have it ; and that, with an air so free, they go 
away pleased. There are certain devotees whose language 
is for me a stammering. I do not fear the snares they 
spread for me. I am not on my guard for anything, and 
everything goes well. I am sometimes told, " Take care 
what you will say to So-and-so." I forget it immediately, 
and I cannot take care. Sometimes I am told, "You 
have said such-and-such a thing : those persons may put 
an ill interpretation on it. You are too simple." I believe 
it, but I cannot do otherwise than be simple. carnal 
prudence, how opposed I find thee to the simplicity of 
Jesus Christ ! I leave thee to thy partisans : as for me, 
my prudence, my wisdom, is Jesus, simple and little ; and 
though I should be Queen by changing my conduct, I 


could not do it. Though my simplicity should cause me all 
the troubles in the world, I could not leave it. 

Nothing greater than God : nothing more little than I. 
He is rich : I am very poor. I do not want for anything. 
I do not feel need of anything. Death, life, all is alike. 
Eternity, time : all is eternity, all is God. God is Love, 
and Love is God, and all in God, and for God. You would 
as soon extract light from darkness, as anything from 
this ** nothing." It is a chaos without confusion. All 
species are outside of the "nothing," and the "nothing " 
does not admit them : thoughts only pass, nothing stops. 
I cannot say anything to order. What I have written, 
or said, is gone : I remember it no more. It is for me 
as if from another person. I cannot wish either justifica- 
tion or esteem. If God wills either one or the other, he 
will do what he shall please. It does not concern me. 
That he may glorify himself by my destruction, or by re- 
establishing my reputation, the one and the other is alike 
in the balance. 

My children, I do not wish to mislead you, or not to 
mislead you. It is for God to enlighten you, and to give 
you distaste or inclination for this " nothing," who does 
not leave her place. It is an empty beacon : one may 
in it light a torch. It is perhaps a false light, which 
may lead to the precipice. I know nothing of it. God 
knows it. It is not my business. It is for you to discern 
that. There is nothing but to extinguish the false light. 
The torch will never light itself if God does not light it. 
I pray God to enlighten you always to do only his will. 
As for me, if you should trample me underfoot, you 
would only do me justice. This is what I can say of a 
" nothing " that I would wish, if I was able to wish, should 
be eternally forgotten. If the " Life " was not written, 
it would run a great chance of never being so ; and yet 
I would rewrite it at the least signal, without knowing 
why, nor what I wished to say. 


Oh, my children, open your eyes to the light of truth ! 
Holy Father, sanctify them in your truth. I have told 
them your truth, since I have not spoken of myself. Your 
Divine Word has spoken to them by my mouth. He alone 
is the truth. He has said to his Apostles, "I sanctify 
myself for them." Say the same thing to my children. 
Sanctify yourself in them and for them. But how reconcile 
your words, my Divine Word? You say on the one 
hand, " Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth." 
On the other, " I sanctify myself for them." Oh, how well 
these two things agree ! It is to be sanctified in the truth 
of all sanctity, to have no other sanctity but that of Jesus 
Christ. May he alone be holy in us and for us. He will 
be holy in us when we shall be sanctified in his truth 
by that experimental knowledge that to him alone belongs 
all sanctity, all justice, all strength, all greatness, all 
power, all glory : and to us all poverty, weakness, etc. Let 
us remain in our " nothing " through homage to the sanctity 
of God, and we shall be sanctified and instructed by the 
truth. Jesus Christ will be holy for us, and will be to 
us everything. We shall find in him all that is deficient 
in us. If we seek anything for ourselves out of him, 
if we seek anything in us as ours, however holy it may 
appear to us, we are liars, and the truth is not in us. We 
seduce ourselves, and we shall never be the saints of the 
Lord, who, having no other sanctity but his, have renounced 
all usurpations, and at last their entire SELFHOOD. Holy 
Father, I have replaced in your hands those whom you 
have given me. Guard them in your truth, that falsehood 
may not approach them. It is to be in falsehood to 
attribute to one's self the least thing. It is to be in false- 
hood to beheve we are able to do anything: to hope 
anything from one's self or for one's self : to believe we 
possess anything. Make them know, my God, that 
herein is the truth of which you are very jealous. All 
language which departs from this principle is falsity : 

336 - MAPAME GUYON. [Part III. 

he \vlio approaches it, approaches the truth, but he who 
speaks only the ALL OF GOD and the NOTHING OF THE 
CREATURE is in the truth, and the truth dwells with him : 
because, usurpation and the selfhood being banished from 
him, it is of necessity the truth dwells there. My children, 
receive this instruction from your mother, and it will 
procure life for you. Eeceive it through her, not as from 
her or hers, but as from God and God's. Amen, Jesus. 

Conclusion. / 

I pray those who shall read this not to be angry against 
the persons who, through a zeal perhaps too bitter, have 
pushed things so far against a woman, and a woman so 
submissive ; because, as Tauler says, " When God wishes 
to purify a soul by suffering, he would for a time cast 
into darkness and blindness an infinite number of holy 
persons, in order they might prepare that vessel of election 
by rash and disparaging judgments, that they would form 
against her in that state of ignorance. But at last, after 
having purified that vessel, he would sooner or later lilt 
the bandage from their eyes, not treating with rigour a 
fault they would have committed through a secret leading 
of his admirable providence. I say, further, that God 
would sooner send an angel from heaven to dispose by 
tribulations that chosen vessel than to leave her without 

December, 1709. 




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